How can therapy help me or my child/teen?
There are a variety of benefits that can come from therapy, and they tend to be individualized. Psychologists are there to provide levels of support, teach certain skills, and help patients discover new coping strategies for things like anxiety, depression, and stress. You don’t need to have some kind of ‘major disorder’ to find usefulness from a therapist. Essentially, a psychologist offers a different way of looking at things – perhaps a perspective you haven’t yet considered, which makes it easier to point you in the right direction, and find the solutions you’re looking for. The benefits you or your child/teen obtain from therapy depend on how much is put into the process.
What makes people go to therapy in the first place? How do I know if it’s the right decision?
While everyone’s reasons for coming to therapy are different, whether they’re going through a big life change, or a specific event like divorce, or just aren’t dealing with stressful situations ideally. Sometimes, the assistance of therapy can not only help with specific situations, but personal issues as well. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and even low-self esteem are often common reasons to seek out help. You may start out looking for one thing, and find on your journey that you can gain so much more through learning the right skills, and having the right kind of encouragement.
In terms of making the ‘right decision’ for yourself, of course therapy is a personal decision, but if you take a look at your life, and your desire is to make a change that starts from within, it’s likely that some form of psychotherapy could be a great benefit.
What can I expect from therapy?
Just like the reasons for therapy are different for everyone, every patient will have a different experience. The good news is that therapy is completely individually-focused, which is why everyone can get something different out of it. Generally, your life, your history, and any relevant insights will be important to the specific discussions, but in a very personal and individualized manner. Sometimes therapy can be focused on a specific need, in which case it’s a ‘short term’ solution, while in other cases, many people go to therapy regularly, each week, to simply look for more personal growth.
Again, therapy isn’t meant to be some kind of ‘quick fix’ where you simply sit back and listen. It is a participatory experience. The more you involve yourself in the process, the better results you’re bound to see. It’s a practice in everyday living, in which you take what you learn from the session, and apply it to your life. Therefore, it’s important to be mentally prepared to make those changes in your life, and desire new perspectives on things.
Do the topics in each therapy session remain private?
There is practically nothing more important in therapy than confidentiality. As with any doctor/patient agreement, your privacy is of the utmost importance. A good therapist understands the vulnerability and openness that must come from each patient in order to really get through, so therapy itself can take a lot of trust, and that needs to be developed over time. Make sure your therapist offers a confidentiality agreement before you begin your sessions, typically called ‘informed consent.’ It is your choice if you’d like to have your therapist share anything significant with your other healthcare providers, but this can only be done with your written consent. Nothing you share in your sessions is to be told to anyone else, with the rare exceptions of suspected abuse of any kind (including child protection), or if the therapist has any reason to believe their patient may hurt themselves, or others. These situations are a matter of ethical procedures, and sometimes, even the law.
Do you prescribe medication?
No. As a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Michigan, I am not allowed to prescribe any medication.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
I’m a psychologist, meaning I attended graduate school for psychology. A psychiatrist has a medical degree and specialized psychiatry training.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
I accept BC/BS of Michigan and Aetna. Insurance companies are different – some offer mental health coverage, while others do not. The easiest way to find out if mental health care is covered by your provider is to contact them, to make sure you understand their options. If you’re looking for a good place to start in asking them questions, you could consider asking what their coverage amounts are for therapy sessions, how many therapy sessions are allowed,what an out-of-network provider might cost, or if prior approval will be needed from your primary care physician. Don’t be afraid to ask enough questions so you feel confident in knowing how your insurance responds to mental health care.
What am I paying out of pocket?
If you are paying for therapy privately, you are expected to pay the agreed upon fees at each session. If you are using insurance, you are expected to pay co-payments (varies with your insurance contract) at each session.
How long are sessions?
The intake evaluation is usually 60-90 minutes. Subsequent sessions usually range from 45 to 60 minutes.
How long does therapy last?
This is different for each patient. Some courses of treatment are more short-term, maybe 6-10 sessions while others can be longer.
How often do we meet?
Typically once/week at the start of therapy. As your situation improves and stabilizes, sessions can be spaced out (e.g. once every two weeks).
How do we begin?
Call or email to set up an intake evaluation, which usually lasts 60-90 minutes. During that time we will discuss your concerns and challenges, gather history, discuss goals and expectations for treatment, and end with a specific treatment plan.
Should I bring my child/teen to the intake session?
This is on a case by case basis, but more often than not, I’d say yes. This depends on the age of your child and the circumstances that bring you for treatment.
Do you tell me what my child/teen says in session?
Generally no, as it may weaken the therapeutic alliance. Your child/teen is always free to tell you everything that is discussed in session. Rest assured, if I have any safety concerns regarding your child/teen, I will tell you immediately.
Do I stay in the room with my child/teen during therapy sessions?
Mostly depends on the age of your child. With younger children, you may be in the room the entire session. With older children, more likely you will join the session in the beginning for a status report, concerns and questions you may have.