Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. During therapy sessions it is standard to talk about the primary issues and concerns in your life. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts 50 minutes. Sometimes individuals who are going through a particularly difficult challenge may request more time per session or more than one session per week. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. Between sessions it is important process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
Therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life's challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. Many people find that working with a therapist can enhance personal development, improve relationships and family dynamics, and can ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen is helpful. Overall, people in therapy tend to have lower levels of anxiety and stress, decreased conflict, and improved quality of life.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Developing new skills for handling stress and anxiety
- Modifying unhealthy behavior and long-standing patterns
- Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior
- Increasing confidence, peace, vitality, and well-being
- Improving ways to manage anger, depression and moods
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Navigating life’s obstacles more effectively
- Improving listening and communication skills
- Enhancing the overall quality of life
What is the difference between Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy?
In general, all of these therapeutic techniques have the same goal--to assist clients in reaching their personal, professional, familial, social and even spiritual goals in life.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy o(or CBT) is known for it's practical applications with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. It assists clients in making mental and behavioral changes in a systematic manner. Often it involves the client learning how to analyze and reinterpret their own 'inner dialogue.' It also offers practical methods for changing difficult behaviors.
Hypnotherapy is essentially a therapeutic form of hypnosis and can only be practiced by licensed psychotherapists certified in this practice. NLP has it's roots in hypnosis. Practitioners of Hypnotherapy and NLP can often assist clients with life problems that do not respond to typical psychotherapy techniques. It is assumed that there are positive unconscious intentions that must be addressed in order to help client's change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Solution Focused Therapy looks at client's as simply human beings who have encountered specific life problems and assists them in finding targeted solutions. There is no assumption of deep seated psychological problems--only a focus on providing solutions to functional life problems in the here and now. There is no need to explore past motivations or experiences in order to provide Solution Focused therapy.
Life Coaching or Therapy?
When deciding on which direction to go, therapy or coaching it's important to note the differences between the two.
Therapists can help patients with evidence based practices and techniques. They can help you with mental health difficulties, diagnosis and assessment. Therapists can also help you to develop potential, provide direction and help you set goals. Therapists can work on skill building, communication techniques, relationship problem solving, parenting skills. They help patients with reality testing and values driven decision making. Therapists can coordinate care with other medical professionals and make appropriate referrals.
Therapy can be a long-term process wherein the patient and therapist work together on beliefs, emotions, behaviors, relationships Some therapists will focus on past experiences and traumas, urging the client, through introspection, to improve behavior and relationships in the present. If you have a significant mental health problem such as a traumatic disorder, major depression, schizophrenia or a personality disorder that puts you at greater risk, a therapist will be better able to help you in a way that a life coach simply cannot.
Therapists can potentially do what Life Coaches do but the same is not true in the reverse. Life Coaches cannot do all that Therapists can do.
Life Coaches work with clients to achieve their highest aspirations and ambitions. These coaches focus on achievement and best outcomes for their clients. Life coaches focus on goals, obstacles and behaviors in the present and create action plans to help clients acheive their desired results. Coaches work on potential, performance, direction and goal setting. There is generally very little emphasis on the past or mental health issues.
What Life Coaches don't do: In general Life Coaches refer clients out for significant mental health problems. Life Coaches do not bill insurance companies and are private pay. They also dont report to insurance companies. LIfe Coaches are not medical professionals and they will not be creating a medical record of any kind.
However, if you don't have any concerns about potential mental health matters, you may not need a therapist. A Life coach may be able to provide the service that you need.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.
Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.
What if I don't want to talk about something?
With compassion and empathy, we will work together to increase your comfort level. There will be no demand that you reveal anything that makes you too uncomfortable. However, remember that it's difficult to help you with problems that remain a mystery to your therapist.
If you are nervous, start by revealing other problems or issues and see how your therapist handles this information. After you've established a deeper level of comfort and trust you can begin to reveal the more difficult-to-discuss issues.
Will you think I'm 'crazy'?
Crazy is certainly not a term that we throw around lightly. You may 'feel crazy' at times but calling you crazy implies that you are completely insane. We prefer terms like 'ineffective' and 'inefficient' and 'irrational.' However we don't use these terms to describe you as a person, but rather your behavior. We take a strong philosophical stance--people are not rateable. We only rate behavior as effective or ineffective, efficient or inefficient, rational or irrational, helpful or unhelpful.
We all have thoughts that are not rational, that are demanding, commanding, rageful, fearful, and yes, even at times severely depressive thinking.
These thoughts don't make you 'crazy' but, if not confronted and disputed, they can lead to emotions that feel overwhelming and behaviors that dont make logical, rational sense.
Will you get tired of me talking about the same things over and over again?
A wise therapist once said "therapy is where people come to change, and then try like hell not to."
The reason you are seeking a therapist is that you have conflicting ideas, desires, drives--on some level you want to change your thinking, emotions or behaviors. On another level these things have served some purpose (protection, safety, procrastination, mood management).
If this were not the case, therapy would usually begin and end within one session. Patient cured. See our receptionist on the way out.
No, in reality, clients can often find themselves considering and reconsidering a new course of action, a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling.
Sometimes you make a commitment to a new diet or a new exercise regimen and then other drives, thoughts, desires kick in that conflict. Wouldnt it be easier to eat this big bag of chips and lay on the couch?
In the same way, a commitment to change in therapy can be followed by a tendency to go back to familiar patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving.
Therapists are fully aware of the 2 steps forward--one step back process of change.
We know that therapy CAN be a sprint, but it can also be a marathon that requires tenacity, endurance and good faith.
What if therapy doesn't work for me?
In our experience, if there is a non-organic, non-chemical disorder--there are few clients for whom therapy won't work.
Therapy progress is slow if you don't develop a trusting relationship in your therapist or refuse to utilized tools the therapist offers for change.
Therapy can also be slowed considerably by a client's lack of candor and honesty.
However if a chemical or organic issue is suspected, the therapist may offer referrals to a psychiatrist or physician for further analysis.
If your issue requires a specific tool or technique that is not part of our therapy practice we will offer you referrals to specialists who have these tools.
What's the next step in getting started?
Getting started is easy. Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 323-248-9379 or email us at [email protected] and name your email "Therapy Request" along with your name, phone and information on any insurance policy you may have (including PPO or HMO status). We'll return your call or email within 1 business day.
How can I reach you?
Give us a call at 323-248-9379 or email us at [email protected]
When can we have sessions?
Our working hours are Weekdays between 9am and 7pm. Sessions are by appointment only and are scheduled in advance on a weekly basis.
Do you have evening or weekend availability?
Our evening appointments take place between 5 and 7pm and are filled quickly. We understand that it's difficult to discuss with employers and hope you can find a way to schedule during your work week. We can create a letter for employers if you desire.
We currently do not have weekend hours available.
How will I schedule my appointments?
Once we've made the initial appointment by phone, we will send you an invite to our Therapy Portal in which we will schedule your appointments. In general we will set up weekly appointments for the same time every week.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
We are phasing out our previous relationships with insurance providers. There are many reasons for this, the most important of which is that we believe therapy is a relationship between a therapist and their client, and we prefer to work without third-party involvement in our work with you. Insurance involvement can potentially compromise confidentiality. Your diagnosis (required for insurance billing), dates of treatment and sometimes your session notes are information that can be accessed by your insurance company and become part of your permanent medical history.
Another reason we are a private-pay counseling center is because insurance companies require us to provide a DSM mental diagnosis for billing. Most of our clients do not come to us with a diagnosable illness, rather they are healthy individuals who are going through a tough time and need some extra support.
Having said all this, we understand that each individual's budget needs are different. We are happy to discuss your needs and our insurance concerns further. Our office is also happy to provide a superbill that you can send into your provider for reimbursement. This amount varies by plan and we encourage you to call your member services and ask what your "out of network mental health benefits" are.
We're here to help answer any further questions about fees or insurance.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- Do I have mental health benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met for out-of-network providers?
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover for out-of-network providers?