Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. That in itself shows bravery and motivation. A trained therapist has skills that can help you move forward faster.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A good friend who can listen can often help you move forward. However, a trained psychotherapist can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there may be risks. For example, once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of the difficult time in your life.
What about medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. Research shows that if you are taking psychoactive medications, the addition of therapy proves beneficial. There are many negative side-effects of some medications. Research also indicates those with psychotic tendencies need to stay on their medications, as they offer protection to the brain. Just so you know, a psychologist does not prescribe medication. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication and some people get confused about the difference. Simply put, medication treats symptoms, whereas psychotherapy aims for the root of the issue, helps process the emotions linked to troubling thoughts and behaviors and teaches strategies.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
In a session where we process trauma with EMDR, we need to move fairly quickly into the processing to be sure to have enough time to complete the processing. You can be sure that before any EMDR is started that we will have worked on developing coping and calming techniques that you have practiced on your own at home. Before the end of each session, we will take a few moments of mindfulness and move into a calm state so that you can go about your day.
How long will it take?
I use short term techniques such as EMDR and intensive short term dynamic psychotherapy and many find relief in less than 5 sessions of individual therapy. The typical 2 hour long first session for individuals and the intensive approach for intimate couples or groups leads to faster progress, as well. It must be noted that there can be no guarantees, but I will do my best to help you use your time, resources and money as efficiently as possible. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to attend therapy, I would initially work with both of you together and preferably in an intensive long session – read more in the couples section. In some cases, after the couple work, if one of you would like to continue with individual psychotherapy, I could work with only one of you.