HOW CAN THERAPY HELP ME?
Therapy is not about having someone take control of your life and tell you what to do and feel. Therapy is where you can explore thoughts, feelings, patterns and behaviors with a trained professional, gain perspective on what you are feeling and experiencing, and learn new skills for coping and moving forward in life.
Seeking professional help is a courageous, compassionate and wise decision. Seeking help takes self-awareness, work and commitment. It means confronting challenges and working to overcome them. It means caring for yourself and others around you.
DO I REALLY NEED THERAPY? I CAN USUALLY HANDLE MY PROBLEMS AND OTHERS HAVE IT MUCH WORSE OFF.
Some mistakenly believe that therapy is for “check engine” emergency fixes. Think of counseling more as routine maintenance. Just like an automobile, if you put the right things in your life, you get so much more out of it. Everyone goes through challenging situations, 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. 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 therapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (loss of a job, divorce, new relationship, etc..), or are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Some people need assistance navigating issues like 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.
WHAT IS THERAPY LIKE?
Because each person is unique and has different needs, 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, and how you experience the people, places and things in your life. Therapy yields greater rewards when we commit to longer-term work, to uproot and deal with more difficult patterns.
It is important to understand that you will can more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you translate what you learn in session into your life. Our counselors 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.
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 a reputable psychiatrist can help you 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. Chelsi is "out of network," but can provide a form to submit your claim to your individual provider. At this time, Allie does not work with insurance claims. Some helpful questions you can ask your carrier are:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
DOES WHAT WE TALK ABOUT IN THERAPY REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL?
Confidentiality and trust are two of the most important components between myself and my patients. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed outside 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 I 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 child abuse or dependent 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 you are not SATISFIED with your experience?
If you are not satisfied with the services provided by Chelsi or Allie, please let us know. If we are unable to resolve your concern please contact the Texas State Board of Examiner of Professional Counselors, Complaints Management and Investigative Section, P.O. Box 141369, Austin, Texas, 78714-1369 or at 1-800-942-554.
The above is adapted from a counseling mentor, Doug Chisholm, MA, LPC-S, at www.chisholmcounseling.com.