Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do People Go To Therapy?
Major life transitions (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.)
Not handling stressful circumstances well
Need assistance managing issues (low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, etc.)
Learning more about themselves
Wanting to be more effective/efficient with goals
How Can Therapy Help?
Long story short: Lots of ways!
Psychologists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies
Therapy can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Psychologists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.
The benefits you obtain depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some benefits available from therapy include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I Really Need Therapy? I Can Usually Handle My Problems.
Only you can answer if you need therapy or not.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life. you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced; however, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it.
Therapy is for people who have the awareness to realize they may need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation at the moment and in the future. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
What Is Therapy Like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.
In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.
Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.
The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives, and take responsibility for their lives.
Does What We Talk About In Therapy Remain Confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and a psychologist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere. Every psychologist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “informed consent.”
however, you may want your psychologist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (e.g., your physician, psychiatrist), but by law, your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, Please NOTE:
State law and professional ethics require psychologists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the patient or collateral sources.
If the psychologist has reason to suspect the patient is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has been treated to harm another person.
If the therapy has been requested by an employer or if a judge orders a release of records
Click here to view a Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) form that discusses your rights as a patient and the therapist's duties.
Medication vs. Psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Can You Prescribe Medication?
Although there is an ongoing active movement to allow licensed psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medication, psychologists are only allowed to prescribe medication in Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, and Idaho. It would be wonderful if this is implemented in the states where I am currently practicing in (New York & Florida) since there is a huge demand for psychiatric support but no - I cannot prescribe medication.
Telehealth Services vs. In-Person Therapy?
Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, in-person therapy was the primary mode of service even though telehealth services were available. During the pandemic, there were many research studies conducted evaluating the effectiveness of telehealth services suggesting that telehealth services are as effective as in-person therapy.
Click here to view an article from Yale Medicine regarding telehealth
Overall, everyone is different and has their own preference in the mode of service. There are pros/cons to both telehealth and in-person services and you get to decide what you want.