In a 2006 report to the American Psychological Association, Glen O. Gabbard, MD and Susan G. Lazar, MD gathered research spreading over 10 years, reporting that 80% of treated patients are in an improved situation toward the conclusion of psychotherapy than untreated patients. It was also noted that psychotherapy is beneficial to a degree that makes it unethical to withhold treatment from patients amid clinical trials (Click here to learn more*).
Individuals who are depressed may discover their mood lifting. Others might decline in feeling apprehensive, furious, or on edge. In therapy, individuals have an opportunity to talk things out completely until their emotions are calmed or the issues are tackled. Clients’ connections and adapting abilities may enhance significantly. They may get more fulfillment out of social and family connections. Their individual objectives and qualities may get to be clearer. They may feel and demonstrate progress various areas as individuals – in their close relationships, in their career or academics, and in the capacity to appreciate their lives. Change can sometimes be swift and smooth, and other times it can be gradual and strenuous. In my personal experience as a therapist, I discovered the most critical component in predicting progress in treatment relies on the individual’s willingness to change.
That are the signs that I should seek the help of a therapist?
The fact that this question resonates with you is the first indication that you may be close to aligning yourself with additional support. A few questions to help you further explore this thought are: Are you able to love and be loved in a way that’s organic to your true self? Are you able to dream, design an action plan for those dreams, and follow through in pursuit of those dreams? Are you acquainted, comfortable, and/or competent in the arena of your self worth? Most issues people bring into therapy have an underlying source that relates to one or more of these questions. If you were able to answer “no” to one of the questions, the next step in helping yourself could result in you aligning yourself in a safe therapeutic environment.
Additional questions to explore are: Is there a persistence with a certain feeling, problem, or condition that is increasing or continuing an internal “stirring?” Is there a surmounting need to change something within yourself or your surroundings? Are you tired of sounding like a broken record in you inner dialogue, as well as outer dialogue with friends/family while still not feeling or seeing the change? Does the issue/s seem too overwhelming to deal with on your own? Are you tired of being emotional stuck/stalled? Is the discomfort of not changing more unbearable than the discomfort of change ……and you are ready to move forward? Then I believe you have arrived at the point of finding yourself a fitting therapist!
How do I find a therapist that suits me?
The therapist client relationship is one of THE most important elements in therapy, in my opinion extending beyond the actual method, credentials, and experience presented by the therapist. A healthy and supportive therapeutic environment does not set the tone of an expert/ novice dynamic, but instead a collaborative partnership that creates emotional safety and trust to support your growth and needs. Though the therapist is knowledgeable in psychological and emotional systems and interventions, YOU are the expert of YOU and lead the way in giving the therapist insight into your world and experiences. It is through this insight where the therapist will help guide you to the discovery or reminder of how great of a SELF expert you are in order to thrive in your authenticity.
Authenticity co- exist with vulnerability and open communication in the therapist-client relationship and environment. Therefore you should prepare to be respectfully challenged on any existing thoughts and behaviors that are working against your desired direction of change. However, addressing unhealthy patterns along the journey should not leave you feeling judged, disregarded, or scolded. Your therapist should promote an environment where concerning feedback involving the method of therapy or interaction with her/him self can be openly addressed.
Therapists have to deal with their own humanity as well (Yes… we are not exempt from the rollercoaster of life!) This means we are in charge of dealing with ourselves properly so that our personal challenges don’t interfere with your therapeutic journey. Choose a therapist who models practices you’d like to inherit, not ones you’re attempting to disown. Ultimately, as in all types of relationships, the most critical element is just feeling comfortable with an individual. This is something that occurs independently of the therapist’s training, experience, or style and is likewise something that can be evolved, in the event that it’s not initially present, by making the therapist aware that you need help feeling more calm. However in the situation where you determine a therapist to be not a good match, you have the right to request additional referrals to therapists that may better suit your needs. A quality therapist will be interested in assisting you with this process with the goal of wanting you to successfully continue on with your therapeutic journey.
The therapeutic journey is all about learning to listen to, speak from, and accept your core self. The first time you should practice connecting with your gut will be in choosing the right therapist for you. Additional questions to help you along are:
How easy is it to talk to her/him?
Is she somebody I think I can trust?
Is she really listening to me?”
“Does she seem to know what she is doing?”
Does she seem confident and competent?”
Do I feel comfortable with her?
“Could I ever show this person the deepest, ugliest parts of myself?”
Does she seem to have the capacity to handle me?”
Mostly, “do I like her?”
What should I expect in my first communication & appointment with a therapist?
In the initial phone consultation, you will be asked to give a brief summary about the circumstances that are bringing you to therapy. Details related to availability, fees, office location, and scheduling will most likely occur to determine the initial fit of therapist and client. Please feel free to communicate any questions you have in the moment.
In order to create some flexibility and fluidity for your first appointment, you will be asked to complete intake paperwork (similar to the early 15 minute arrival at a medical doctor’s office.) However to provide you an options in your preparation, you can complete intake paperwork by printing it from my site (see “forms” page) and bringing it with you to the first appointment, scanning and returning via email, or completing it in my office before your appointment.
The objective of the first appointment is for therapist to further assess your needs and her ability to be your supportive guidance figure, as well as the mutual opportunity to continue to gather if the combined energy of the two of you will provide the supportive atmosphere for your therapeutic goals and needs.
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist? Do you just see couples?
Though I am a dual licensed as an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) and LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor,), my primary training and professional lens is through the systemic healing of relational work influenced by my family therapy educational background. This means regardless of the initial problem you bring into therapy, I keep in the forefront of my mind that you are not an individual who lives solely on your own and are the only influencing factor in your physical, psychological, and emotional composition. We are all made up of the combination of our experiences in life, because we were created as relational beings; so in our therapeutic interaction we are examining the development and existence of your thought and emotional patterns within ALL of your relational contexts highlighting your relationship with yourself (which is the longest and ongoing relationship you will ever have.) Marriage and Family Therapists systemic training allows for us to work quite comfortably with individuals, couples, various relational dynamics within a family unit, and groups. MFT’s are professionally licensed through the State of Texas, with a pre-requisite of a masters or doctoral degree in indirect and direct clinical training and 3,000 post-graduate supervised clinical work.
How long does therapy last?
The length of treatment fluctuates and is dependent upon the nature, duration, intensity, and frequency of problems or issues. Therapy typically consists of 50-minute sessions, and starting out it’s highly recommended that clients come on weekly basis until we get to know each other and build up a fitting treatment plan. Some clients come for a few months of sessions (short term therapy) and others attend up to year or more (long term therapy.) I recommend for you to be open, patient, and compassionate to the time needed to cater to yourself. Start your therapeutic journey with the mindset that you are worth the quality and the time to nurture your overall wellbeing! You and your therapist will partner together to choose the best course of treatment for you.
Do you take Insurance?
Attending to our medical, psychological, and emotional need, can be very taxing on our financial responsibilities (trust me….I get it!) The question of insurance often plays a factor in decisions we tend to make towards our physical and mental health while maintaining our daily needs. Because I want to provide a little insight on how insurance plays a role in mental health services, I will extend the answer beyond a simple “yes” or “no”
Currently, I do not sit on any insurance panels meaning I am considered an “out of network” provider in the language of insurance coverage. However, I do have an NPI (National Provider Identification) number which allows for clients to seek full or partial reimbursement directly from their insurance provider after making full payment for services upfront. My recommendation would be for you to initially contact your insurance provider, prior to your initial appointment, to feel most comfortable in your mental health options and decisions. These following questions to your insurance provider should help in your quest:
- Do I have mental health benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many mental health sessions per calendar year does my insurance plan cover?
- How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network mental health provider?
- How do I obtain reimbursement for therapy with an out-of-network provider?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
There are pros and cons in your decision of utilizing insurance for mental health services.
One pro to not using insurance is your therapy is not limited by the diagnosis, treatment plan, or session limit constraints of health insurance providers. Insurance companies often limit the number of sessions and even the type of therapy. Many insurance companies do not cover couples/relational or family therapy. This allows your therapist and you to remain in control of designing a treatment plan tailored to your needs versus your insurance provider’s timeline and narrow perspective of beneficial therapeutic modalities.
Another important factor you should be made aware of is therapy services covered under insurance, must be accompanied with a mental health diagnosis. This diagnosis becomes a part of your permanent health care record, which, depending on the diagnosis, can lead to limitations such as denial for quality life insurance or health insurance in the future (similar to pre-conditioned medical and insurance factors.) This also increases the information insurance companies gain about you, as certain required information must be shared in order for you to obtain reimbursement. The insurance company gains discretionary power to review all of your records. The pro associated with this factor is that your increased level of confidentiality remains in tact.
Of course the con you are faced with in not utilizing your insurance provider, is that you will have more financial responsibility in tending to your mental health needs.
This section is not meant to dissuade you either way, however to give you more insight so you can ultimately do what’s best for your overall wellbeing. The more you know the better informed decision you can make for yourself and/or family.
How “confidential” is confidentiality
Therapy is a place that requires you to be quite vulnerable, therefore are you are exploring and sharing factors of your life that you may have never shared before. Part of what makes that level of trust possible is the knowledge that your client to therapist confidentiality is respected inside and outside of your sessions. So yes what happens in therapy stays in therapy! There are a few factors where the state of Texas holds me as a licensed professional liable to mandated reporting. I must report if you:
- If I am informed that someone is hurting you
- If I am informed that you have active plans or are hurting others
- If I am informed that you have active plans to hurt yourself
Of course in my work with minors confidentiality is honored, however there’s a little more flexibility in factoring in the financial and supportive role of the guardians/parents.
If a third party payer is involved in the process (as mentioned in the insurance section) additional information maybe a shared requirement. However, I will always provide knowledge of that process.
Because confidential is vital to the therapeutic process, it is definitely a topic present in the intake paperwork and throughout the journey. There will always be room made to present any current or rising concerns.
How does the option of medication and alternative therapy work in the therapy process?
Many studies speak to the effectiveness, for some mental health issues, of combining psychotherapy and medication treatment. Though prescribing medication is beyond my field of training, I operate from a multidisciplinary perspective of working with medical professionals, known as psychiatrists, at other facilities who specialize in psychiatric medications. Through initial and/or periodic assessment of an individual’s needs, recommendation may be made for a psychological or medication evaluation. Psychologists are mental health professionals who have been trained specifically in conducting assessment and evaluation testing. If you are already working satisfactory with a psychiatrist/psychologist professional of your preference, we can coordinate with that professional. However in cases where we are in need of a psychiatrist or psychologist, part of my multidisciplinary work is assisting you with outreaching to other mental health professionals to feel your needs in conjunction with therapy. With your permission, multidisciplinary efforts and coordination with outside professionals who are taking part in your mental health or medical care is beneficial in aligning best practices holistically. Please note that your thoughts about medication will always be considered and thoroughly discussed, as long as your symptoms are not at such a level as to put you or others at imminent risk. Because I do not believe in a formula approach to mental health needs, I am open to working with you in selecting alternate means of treating your symptoms when they require attention in addition to the scope of psychotherapy.
Since my personal and professional philosophy wholeheartedly believes in the knowledge and attention to the mind-body relationship to create physiological and emotional balance. I find it important to maintain and build relationships with a number of professionals and support groups whose practice and presence may assist the process of psychotherapy. This includes massage therapists, acupuncturists, acupressurists, and nutritionalists, etc., as well supportive interventions such as addiction, grief, and psychological disorder groups. I am careful to refer to practitioners who are known to be professional/ethical in their practice, whose procedures are research-based in nature, and with whom I believe you will achieve a comfortable relationship. Though I may make a referral, it is always your choice to accept or decline.