I have tried therapy before. Can it really help this time? Timing is everything - if your earlier experience with therapy was humdrum, or worse, unhelpful, share your disappointment with your new therapist. It is important to express what did, or did not, work inan earlier counseling endeavor; however, life is a process, and we only successfully confront problems when we feel healthy, supported, and truly able to make sincere changes. It is also possible that you are now more motivated to change, or better able to face some harsh truths about your life.
How long do sessions last and how often should I come? Sessions occur in our office and last anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. Initially, it is helpful to attend weekly, until your therapist is able to gather historical facts and helpful data about you, the client. Once you feel stable and caught up, with a treatment plan that is reasonable and agreed upon, sessions will occur bi-monthly or monthly. For example, a couple in crisis (discussing divorce or separation) will be well-served to attend weekly sessions until both parties feel that the conflict has settled down and emotions are leveled off. Once this occurs, clients can begin to repair their relationship and ultimately transition to weekly homework and insightful self-care.
Is our therapeutic discussion confidential? Yes! Confidentiality is a mandate under this provider's license through her governing Board of Behavioral Sciences, with a caveat that confidentiality is forfeited when a client is deemed a danger to self or others. Ethics and laws surrounding confidentiality are discussed on your first visit.
How can I best find a therapist with concrete solutions for my concerns? Your first visit to a psychotherapist should feel like a good fit ~ trust your instincts. Ask for something specific to alleviate your discomfort at the first meeting, e.g. "How can I handle my anxiety?" My response to this question would look something like this: "Begin to notice your warning signals. How does your body feel? When do you feel most anxious? Upon wake-up? If so, do something different: begin your day with a ten minute stretch then a different breakfast. Develop a routine and anticipate the anxiety before it surprises you. Make a to-do check list. Meditate upon awakening. Journal your thoughts and feelings at bedtime. Buy a calming relaxation CD. Call a friend at 6:30am and ask for a voice of support."
What kind of concerns do people bring to your office? People seek counseling to improve relationships to others and to feel better. Human beings naturally like to feel good and want to be happy. Our office sees clients with chronic pain, job-related stress, marital conflict, infidelity, cyber addiction, insomnia, parenting struggles, and substance abuse. Verbal discussion, emotional release, insight, and developing a treatment plan that addresses clients' goals work in orchestra to bring swift relief and confidence in a new way of thinking and feeling.
Is cyber infidelity and/or internet pornography an appropriate issue to bring into therapy? Yes, anytime a behavior becomes a point of conflict between you and your partner - or negatively affects your daily function - it is advisable to seek outside counseling. In our modern world, cyber infidelity, compulsive masturbation, and pornography addiction has become a widespread concern. Seek a counselor who is comfortable discussing these sensitive issues.
I am living with my intimate partner but we are not married. Can we seek couple's counseling? Yes! Couples counseling is a terrific idea for any couple. Many couples seek out premarital counseling even when things are going great to learn new and healthy ways of communicating, discuss long-term goals and how each partner envisions the future. Discussing and anticipating some of the more common issues that couples inevitably face is a great way to avoid obstacles further down the road.
Once therapy has ended, should I return for an occasional visit? Sure! Many clients return to their therapist for the occasional tune-up, a sort of "checking in" that brings joy to both parties.
Ethics in Therapy
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy "strives to honor the public trust in marriage and family therapists by setting standards for ethical practice as professional expectations" that are enforced by their own Ethics Committee.
Client interests are primary.
Informed Consent is a legal construct that is intended to ensure that individuals are fully aware of the risks and benefits associated with Therapy.
Cultural Competency is the ability of the therapist/professional to respectfully and sensitively respond to people of all cultures, races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations. Each person deserves to be recognized and affirmed for their values and beliefs.
Ethical responsibilities of therapists include a 1)duty to client 2)duty to colleagues 3) duty to the general health care profession 4) duty to maintain and promote high standards of practice 5) and a duty to act and prevent unauthorized practice of mental health work.
Copyright of Christina Neumeyer, 2017