How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. 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, 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.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they 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 by seeking therapy. 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.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
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.
How does child therapy work?
The child’s interest in therapy is created through the development of the therapeutic relationship: rapport, trust, and safety are necessary for progress, growth, and healing. The challenge is engaging children so that therapy is not a boring, uncomfortable chore, but rather a place of comfort, where exciting and vital adventures in self-discovery can happen.
Working with children differs from the traditional adult “talk therapy” session. It is important to have an understanding of child development and to work with each child at his or her own level. Children often don’t know how to identify or explain the causes for their sadness, fears, or behaviors. Sometimes, it is embarrassment, shame, or traumatic experiences that are an obstacle to verbal expression. Part of the work with a child is to help them find images, symbols, and words to express themselves and to start again on their path of healthy development using play, art and sandtray therapy. Once they are able to express themselves, they can begin to process and heal.
What about 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.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. If you have PPO insurance, I will give you a superbill which you will have to submit for reimbursement. Depending on your coverage, you may be reimbursed directly by your insurance provider. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Where do I get the form to submit with my superbill?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist 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”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists 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 client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Is teletherapy private and confidential?
Yes, all of our therapists and coaches use a secure, HIPAA-compliant video platform to conduct sessions.
I live with others. How can I guarantee my privacy and confidentiality?
Many people are living and working in an environment where partners, children, parents, roommates, and others are always nearby. If this is your situation, there are creative ways to ensure a sense of privacy for therapy sessions. Stepping away into a room and closing the door, using a white noise application on your phone and putting a towel under the door, using headphones for privacy, asking whomever lives with you to listen to music or a podcast through headphones, are just some of the ways to create a sense of privacy. We understand that for some the current living arrangement may make it difficult to feel safe and comfortable to start or continue therapy in the home with other inhabitants in it. Others may have young children or no private room they could use. Please know you can seek alternative spaces for therapy services, including having the session in a car, while on a walk, or finding a comfortable sitting position in a safe environment outside where others will not overhear you.
Can I talk to my therapist over the phone instead of video?
While teletherapy via a secure, HIPAA-compliant video platform is ideal for continuity of care, relationship building, accurate clinical assessment, and other reasons, research supports the efficacy of psychotherapy over the telephone when video is not an option. Per the American Psychological Association, a review of 13 studies found significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression when therapy was provided via telephone (Coughtrey and Pistrang, 2018). Decisions about psychotherapy over the telephone versus video are made at the therapist’s discretion. Please connect with your therapist to discuss if this may be an option for you.
Should I just wait to seek or continue therapy until I can see a therapist in person?
Your mental health is important and postponing seeing a professional when you are in need of support and/or are experiencing emotional distress, is rarely a good idea. While it may feel unfamiliar in the beginning, scientific research has shown that teletherapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy and has many benefits, including flexibility of scheduling. At Wildflower, we are committed to maintaining the same quality of treatment as for in-person services. Wildflower continues to welcome new clients for individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapy with morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend availability.
I am at home due to the shelter-in-place mandate, what if I don’t have enough to talk about?
It may be helpful to think of therapy as one hour a week during which you get to reflect not only on what is going on in your external life, but also what is happening on the inside: what emotions, thoughts, and sensations are arising, and how they are affecting you. It is okay to not know how you might want to use your time with the therapist. They will guide you and help you clarify your goals, while also welcoming moments of silence and grounding during sessions.
How can I get the most out of my teletherapy experience?
As stated earlier, we recommend treating teletherapy like you would in-person therapy. The degree to which therapy is helpful depends on many factors, but the goodness of fit between you and your therapist combined with your willingness to put in the effort and time to work towards your goals, are key determinants of success.
Additional guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of teletherapy include:
Being on time
Attending sessions while not under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Minimizing distractions such as cellphones, computers, other electronics
Refraining from engaging in other activities during sessions (e.g., driving, cooking, cleaning, caring for children or pets)
Informing your therapist of your location
Refraining from recording sessions unless this was agreed upon with your therapist
Ensuring you are in a private space with no other people present
I’m worried teletherapy might feel awkward or uncomfortable. What would you suggest?
We would suggest being open to the idea that like many things that are unfamiliar, teletherapy may initially feel slightly strange until you get more used to it. This being said, our clients have reported that their initial fears about any awkwardness and discomfort were quickly dispelled. If it does feel strange to be working with your therapist remotely, the best thing you can do is to talk to your therapist about it. They will work with you to help you understand and cope with any feelings that arise.
Teletherapy question and answers taken from "Demystifying Teletherapy: Questions and Answers" by Aga Grabowski