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 are 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 through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective attaining 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?
The starting point for therapy is not merely your unhappiness or even your suffering. We all experience these things as part of life. If pain itself gave us wisdom, then the entire world would be wise. The starting point for therapy is your perception and belief that your suffering or unhappiness is clearly at odds with the vitality, creativity and purpose that you desire. You believe something can and should be done about it. Therapy uncovers your stories. They can be received as good, bad or ugly, however therapy gives you a chance to rewrite them if you like. I believe in the process of change. Rewriting the story brings hope.
As I hear your story I will treat your meanings with respect. Your meanings—emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical – rule your choices and dictate your responsibility and behavior. For example, you may place what seems like sacrificial love above contentment or pride above happiness. You may believe grief to be the experience you must avoid at all cost. You may repeatedly choose the familiar path of sadness rather than risk the uncomfortable curves of creative anxiety. You will journey among the mountains and valleys of meaning if you choose to engage in therapy. And you will have me for a time--- as a companion and guide.
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.
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 i.e. you physician, but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.