Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need a therapist?
A: There are reasons why you may not need or want to work with a therapist. For example, you like everything just the way it is and don't want to make any changes to your career or life. Or, if you want to make changes, you like doing things your way and don't want any input, especially from someone you don't know. Or, you want to change someone else. Or, you're not ready to do anything.
A therapist is not a basic necessity of life, like food and water. Since there is a financial cost involved, therapy can be viewed as an investment. Most people can benefit from working with a therapist.
A therapist comes in handy if there's some pain that you're experiencing that you want to stop. Therapists come with a variety of skill levels and areas of expertise. Here are a few examples of situations:
- You wish you had someone you can trust to confide in, brainstorm ideas with and validate your decision.
- You want to find a better way to handle the problems in your life.
- You want to find solutions.
- You want more balance in your life.
- You want to be more successful in relationships.
- You want to make a difference and have a greater impact.
- You're ready to transform your life.
Q: Why should I hire a therapist when I've got friends?
A: With a therapeutic relationship, we have one-on-one conversations on a regular basis. The conversations are all about you - yes, it's pretty one-sided. Your therapist is someone you can depend on to give you honest feedback. She's a trained professional who is skilled to help you make different choices in how you think about things.
Has it ever occurred to you that your friends would rather you hire a therapist? Here are five reasons why they'd rather you pay a stranger:
1. Your friends love you, but they don't want to talk about you and your "issues" on a regular basis.
2. Your friends enjoy daydreaming with you, but they don't have the time or expertise to nurture your dreams.
3. You're starting to sound like a broken record. Your friends no longer take your seriously.
4. Your friends like you too much to hurt your feelings, so they bite their tongues and don't say anything.
5. When you talk about your situation, it reminds your friends of something they've experienced, so they cut you off and start sharing their own stories. (No one's really listening!)
Q: What should I look for in finding the right therapist?
A: Here are some things to consider:
During your first meeting with the therapist, pay attention to how you feel in their presence and in the therapeutic setting they've created, even online. Note how "listened to" you feel and how their style of responding to you and sharing information makes you feel. Although making yourself vulnerable to another human being is always anxiety-provoking, observe how you feel as the session progresses, including changes in your level of ease and shifts in the depth of information you reveal.
It's important to remember that therapy is a much, much richer experience than just problem-solving. The foundation of good therapy is the relationship you and the therapist build together. Because this relationship is so crucial to the effectiveness of your therapy, it is essential you find someone with whom you feel a comfortable connection, someone who makes you feel understood and accepted, a therapist who creates and maintains an environment within which you can feel safe to explore even the most deeply felt sources of pain or conflict. Choose a therapist with whom it feels very right to establish such a life-changing and life-enhancing relationship. You deserve the best possible therapy experience.
Q. What are the different types of therapies? What is your approach?
A. I use an eclectic approach that combines Cognitive BehavioralTherapy, Interpersonal Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
Cognitive Therapy is a short-term therapy in which a person learns to recognize patterns of negative thinking that cause problems, and changes how they think and react to events and people. Behavioral Therapy is aimed at learning to modify destructive behavior patterns and includes relaxation training and social skills training.
Interpersonal Therapy is a short-term therapy that focuses on improving relationships, helping individuals recognize their own feelings and needs, enhancing their interpersonal and communication skills, as well as treating their symptoms.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is less intense than psychoanalysis, but is founded on many of the same principles and uses the same approaches. The goal is changing self-injurious thoughts and behaviors through personal insight. A major concept of psychodynamic psychotherapy is that emotional well-being is upset by buried distortions in the way a person sees him or herself and the world around them, interfering with problem solving.
Q: How long does counseling take?
A: How much therapy you will need depends on the seriousness of the problem. A study by Northwestern University reviewed data from more than twenty-four hundred patients over a thirty year period, and found that half of the patients showed measurable improvement by the eighth therapy session. After six months of once-a-week therapy, 75 percent had improved. It took longer for people with more serious disorders to get better. People with depression or anxiety responded to therapy by the twentieth session.
But for any form of therapy to succeed, the patient has to be motivated to make changes. The therapist can help you get started, but eventually you have to do the actual work of making the needed changes away from the therapist's office. Each person has the inner potential to change for the better.