FAQ

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law requires that I maintain your confidentiality except as required or permitted by law. Examples of this include a reasonable suspicion of child, elder or dependent adult abuse; when a serious threat to a reasonably well-identified victim is communicated to me; if you communicate to me a threat or a plan to injure or kill yourself.

Your confidentiality may be compromised by your insurance company or your bank or your credit card carrier. Your confidentiality is also at risk when you communicate via cell-phone, fax or internet or when you make disclosures to others in your life about your therapy.

Is therapy right for me?

Therapy is an individual choice and there can be many reasons why you’re considering it. For example, you may want to deal with long-standing psychological issues, family or origin issues, or problems with anxiety or depression.

You might not be prepared for an unexpected change such as ending a relationship, work transition, or if someone close passes away. You may want to pursue personal growth; gain insight into yourself; have a broader perspective of the world you live in, and operate in it with more maturity.

How can therapy help me?

While I can give you my opinion, you’re the only one who can determine if your therapy is working. The benefits you gain from therapy depend on how well you use the therapy process and your willingness to practice what you learn.

I will provide emotional support; teach you problem-solving skills and coping strategies regarding your emotions, behavior and relationships. I’ll help you explore your options and emotionally support you while you try out new options, but normally I won’t tell you what to do or give you direct advice.

Should I have a male or female therapist?

Research has not shown a connection between therapist gender and treatment outcome. What is most important is that you feel safe and comfortable with your therapist regardless of their gender. Sometimes, your problem can influence your choice of your therapist’s gender.

For example, if you’re a woman who has been abused by a male or if your partner is abusive, you might feel more comfortable talking with a female therapist. If you’re a man struggling with father issues you might feel better with a male therapist. If you’re struggling with an addiction you may benefit more from a therapist who specializes in addictions.

How can I determine if the therapist will be a good match?

Interview a therapist by phone. Ask questions about their experience and specialty and what kind of therapy they provide. Notice reactions you have, like anxiety or sweaty palms or nervousness in your voice. Is their voice easy or hard to listen to?

Does the therapist take enough time to answer your questions or do you feel rushed? Does the therapist make sure they have answered all of your questions?

In the first session, you and the therapist will decide if it’s a good match. Be aware of how you feel physically and emotionally during the first session. Anxiety would be natural but you must determine if you feel safe and if you can trust this person. You can also request a second interview to confirm how you feel about the therapist.

Does therapy involve physical touch?

Some forms of therapy, and some therapists permit this to happen. Normally I do not. Physical contact is limited in therapy because it can have real or imaginary sexual overtones that could be harmful to you. I will usually shake your hand if you extend yours first, and I may pat you on your back to encourage you or to comfort you. Therapist–client sexual relations are forbidden by law and professional ethics, and any attempt at unwanted physical contact is cause for treatment termination.

Can we have a relationship outside of therapy?

No. Therapy professions have rules against such relationships to protect us both. Because of the nature of psychotherapy our therapeutic relationship must be different from your other relationships. If we were to interact in any other way we would then have a “dual relationship” which could be harmful to you.

I am required to keep your identity confidential if we happen to meet outside of therapy. If you have any preferences about public meetings, please let me know otherwise I may ignore you. When therapy is completed, I will not be able to socialize with you like your other friends. My duty as a therapist is to care for you and my other clients, but only in the professional role of therapist.

Will you get mad if I stop therapy?

I would not be angry. You are free to stop or start therapy at anytime and with whomever you choose. Still, I would be concerned about you and ask you why you’re leaving and how you feel about it. It would be your choice whether or not to discuss this with me. If you choose to begin therapy with another therapist, it’s important that you inform me and the other therapist.

Why not just take medication instead of therapy?

Some mental health issues have underlying biological or neurological causes that almost always require medication. Aside from this, research shows that psychotherapy with medication usually has better results than psychotherapy or medications alone. Still the controversy continues over which treatment is better.

I’m inclined to believe the research. If I suspect that you could benefit from medication support I will refer you to a physician for evaluation. Depending on the severity of your symptoms I may make this evaluation mandatory if I think that therapy isn’t feasible without medication.

How long does therapy last?

This depends on several factors including your goals for therapy; the type(s) of problem(s) you’re having; what’s happening in your life outside of therapy; your personality, and how fast you’re able to make progress.

Estimates for short term psychotherapy vary, usually between (6) to (12) sessions. It may take just a few sessions to provide you with coping skills for a specific problem. One or two clinical hypnosis sessions can reinforce these skills and other skills you already have.

If you wish to, we can discuss the possible benefits of long term psychotherapy. Examples include gaining deeper self- understanding; gaining a sense of personal freedom; healing the pain of past trauma; and making lasting improvements in your personality. This therapy can take several months and in some cases, years.

How does therapy end?

Normally an end date is set when you feel that you’ve achieved your therapy goals. You’ll realize this when, for example, you no longer worry about the problems that brought you into therapy; you’re confident you could manage these problems alone; you can accept others’ positive and negative feedback, and you believe the people closest to you when they tell you it feels better to be with you.

We could schedule follow up sessions in the months ahead and most likely I would remain available to you in the future.

Please call me at 949-760-7171 or text 949-244-8572 with any questions.

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