Why do people seek therapy?
People come into relationship counseling, marriage counseling or individual counseling for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
What kind of people do you tend to work with?
Most of my clients are intelligent, successful people who are experiencing some trouble in their life (relationship difficulties, life transitions, depression, anxiety) or feel ready to move beyond some past issue or limitation to create a more fulfilling life. I counsel men, women, couples, and children, from school age to those in their eighties. I specialize in relationship counseling, marriage counseling, couples counseing, and individual counseling.
Do you accept insurance?
I do not accept insurance. See the next section to understand why I choose to offer only fee-for-service psychotherapy.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using insurance to pay for counseling sessions?
Comparison of Issues
It is important for people to know the difference between using insurance versus paying for therapy on their own. Why would you pay for your psychotherapy rather than use your insurance? The issues are outlined below.
|A Note about Length of Therapy
Brief therapy works well for many people who are dealing with a temporary crisis or a specific, well-defined problem. In many instances, a therapist can help individuals or families change very quickly. However, brief therapy is not appropriate for all people or for all types of problems. If you do not feel satisfied with the results from a few sessions, longer-term therapy may prove more helpful. A Consumer Reports (November 1995) survey found that, while most people experienced some relief in both brief and longer therapies, those who stayed in therapy for more than six months reported the most improvement. Other research has found that people who stay in treatment for longer periods report greater gains than those who receive treatment for shorter periods. It takes time to develop a trusting relationship and resolve deeper, more complex, long-standing issues.
It is beneficial for you to obtain as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision regarding using your insurance benefits or paying for therapy on your own. Contact your insurance company and ask about your mental health coverage. Speak to the therapist you choose about the options you have. The therapist can also call and talk to the insurance company on your behalf. If the therapist is covered on your insurance plan, discuss with the therapist the advantages and disadvantages of using your insurance benefits. You may well choose to use your insurance until the benefits run out and then you can negotiate the cost of further treatment with your therapist. Many therapists will offer a sliding scale or reduced rate for those who cannot afford to pay the regular fee and/or do not use insurance. It is always your decision whether you want to use your insurance or pay on your own for counseling. You are encouraged to first look for a psychotherapist based on your own likes and needs, then discuss payment options with that therapist.
Boulder Psychotherapists' Guild, Inc. (1998). Directory 1998.
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Understanding your mental health coverage under managed care.
Connecticut Psychotherapists' Guild. (1999). Directory of the Connecticut Psychotherapists' Guild.
Consumer Reports. (November 1995). Mental health: Does therapy help?
What can I expect in a therapy session?
During counseling sessions, you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A counseling session lasts 45-55 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as researching and collecting facts of functioning in your family of origin, contacting and developing enhanced relationships with family members with whom you previously had little contact, reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both inside and outside of the therapy sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you
- Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improved ability to manage personal boundaries
- Improved parenting skills
- New ways to make positive meaning out of your experiences
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?
If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy, your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the counseling experience.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.