What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a different way– they can teach you new skills, assist you in gaining a new or different perspective, listen to you without judgment or expectations and help you listen to yourself. Additionally, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Also, if your situation provokes a great deal of intense or negative thoughts or emotions and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could begin to avoid that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different concerns and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on you. You and your therapist will design a specific treatment plan and therapeutic approach that addresses your specific needs.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. 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 to change and the varying factors and life’s circumstances that are motivating you to seek therapy at this time.
What will the costs be?
The cost of your therapy will depend on the coverage your particular health insurance plan allows, what the out of pocket costs will be for you such as any deductible amount yet to be paid that calendar year and if you have a co-insurance or co-payment amount due each session. To help you avoid any unpleasant surprises, we will verify your insurance coverage at the beginning of your therapy and collect co-insurance or co-pays at the time of your service. We can accept checks, cash or credit payments. Some individuals will also have HSA or FSA accounts that we can accept payment through if you have a debit card.
What is Mental Health Parity and how might it impact my costs for mental health therapy?
According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health), “Mental health parity describes the equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders in insurance plans. When a plan has parity, it means that if you are provided unlimited doctor visits for a chronic condition like diabetes then they must offer unlimited visits for a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia.
However, parity doesn’t mean that you will get good mental health coverage. Comprehensive parity requires equal coverage, not necessarily “good” coverage. If the health insurance plan is very limited, then mental health coverage will be similarly limited even in a state with a strong parity law or in a plan that is subject to federal parity.”
You have a right to know if your insurance company treats your mental health issue differently from any other medical issue. If you believe your insurance carrier has violated this law, NAMI suggests you first talk with your plan administrator whose contact information can be found on the back of your insurance card. Any reasons for denial of coverage must be made available by your insurance company upon your request. If your treatment is denied and you disagree, you can contact your plan’s customer relations division. You may file a written formal appeal and ask your plan for details. NAMI has some templates you can use if your informal attempts are not successful.
Here’s a link to NAMI’s website that explains Mental Health Parity.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that may really help you see your personal growth and development.
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 work with one of our therapists, your therapist would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, your therapist could work with only one of you. It may not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. Medication can be helpful in treating the symptoms. Your work in therapy is designed to explore the roots or causes of the issue, look at your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be often be quite effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy to make lasting changes.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In your work together, your therapist will help you identify what those strengths are and how to best use them again in what is happening now.