How can therapy help me?
Therapy offers many benefits. A therapist can provide support, work with you on problem-solving skills, and help you cope with issues such as anxiety, trauma, relationships, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, and more.
Your counselor can also be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. She can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you gain from therapy depend on how well you put into practice what you learn.
Benefits of therapy include:
- Gaining a better understanding of yourself and your goals
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Working through anger, guilt, or shame
- Resolving issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger and other emotional pressures
- Improving communication and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or at work
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
We all face hard situations in life. While you may have successfully navigated through some of the challenges you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking 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's something to be admired. By seeking therapy, you're taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, change unhealthy patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy? How do I know if it's right for me?
People seek counseling for many different reasons. Some may be going through a major life transition, such as unemployment, divorce, or a new job. Others find they're not handling stressful circumstances well. Many need assistance managing a particular issue such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts, and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide much-needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.
You may simply be at a point where you're ready to learn more about yourself, or perhaps you want to be more effective at reaching your goals. In short, people seeking therapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and are ready to make some changes.
Because every person has different issues and goals, your course of therapy will be as unique as you are. In general, you can expect to talk about your reasons for seeking therapy, share your background and personal history, discuss current life happenings and events, and report progress or new insights gained from a previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term for a specific issue, or long-term to deal with deep-seated trauma, difficult patterns in your life, or your desire for greater personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist--usually weekly.
It's important to realize that you'll see better results from therapy when you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you apply to your life those things you learn in your counseling sessions . Therefore, beyond the work you do during therapy, your counselor may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process, such as reading a pertinent book, keeping a journal, noting certain behaviors, or taking action on your goals. When you seek therapy, you're saying you want to make positive changes, you're open to new perspectives, and you're ready to take responsibility for your life and actions.
It is well established that medication alone cannot provide a long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of your distress and the behavior patterns that curb your progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Together with your medical doctor, you can determine what is best for you. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, contact your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully, and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions to ask when you call:
- 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?
- Do you need approval from my primary care physician?
Once you have communicated with your insurance company, ask your therapist if she accepts your insurance.
Are therapy sessions confidential?
Confidentiality between a client and therapist is of the greatest importance. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust, as you'll be sharing sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Your therapist should provide a written copy of her confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss during your sessions will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent."
Sometimes, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, such as your physician, naturopath, or attorney. But by law, she cannot release this information without your written permission.
State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except under the following circumstances:
- The therapist suspects past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders.
- The therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Suspicions must be reported to the proper authorities, including child protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.