Questions on Therapy
Family Therapy Center
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, seeking professional help can help guide you.
- What is therapy?
Therapy, also called psychotherapy or counseling, is the process of meeting with a therapist to resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, and/or relationship problems. Through therapy, you can change self-destructive behaviors and habits, resolve painful feelings, improve your relationships with family, friends and other loved ones. You should expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens attentively, models a healthy and positive relationship experience, gives you appropriate feedback in an ethical manner following laws and ethical boundaries set by California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
- What group therapy could do for me?
Group therapy can be quite helpful for most. Where having a group of people dealing with similar issues could allow you determine ways to find coping skills, having a place where other share a common issue and have different ways to deal with situations, other group members become a support system in difficult times and having a therapist who understand how to guide, and lead the group towards a healing environment.
- What are some reasons I may seek therapy?
Some of the signs that might indicate the need to attend therapy, either individual or group therapy:
Feeling sad and unmotivated. If you have had feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, sadness, irritability, thoughts of suicide, feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, or are no longer finding pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, you may be dealing with depression and may benefit from talking to a professional.
Excessive worry. If you feel as though your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do normal activities and/or you are unable to sleep at night due to ongoing rumination about your difficulties, you may want to consider seeking help.
Trauma or abuse. If you have experienced any type of traumatic event or abusive relationship, coming to terms with your experience by talking to an empathic other can be extremely helpful. Trauma and abuse can leave long-term scars that, if left untreated, can negatively impact your life, relationships, and ability to experience joy or happiness.
Relationship problems. If your relationship has become unfulfilling and you feel you are no longer able to communicate effectively with your significant other, seeking out couples counseling can be a helpful step in getting your relationship back on track.
Difficult life transitions. We all face difficult life situations at times–the loss of a job, a move to a new city, a divorce, or the loss of a loved one. When difficulties such as these arise and you find it difficult to move on, talking with a counselor can be an effective way to process your feelings and work through any lingering grief.
Addictions. If you are struggling with any type of addiction—substance abuse, an eating disorder, gambling, or sex addiction—this could be a sign you are trying to cope with unresolved issues or feelings in unhealthy and inappropriate ways and may obtain benefit from professional help.
Obsessive or compulsive behaviors. If you are spending too much time double checking to make sure you have turned off the stove, obsessively washing your hands, or are consumed by compulsive thoughts, receiving counseling could be extremely beneficial in getting your life in order.
Children excessively acting out. If your child or children have been misbehaving and you are at your wit’s end trying to figure out what to do, talking with a professional who has experience with children’s issues can be helpful. A counselor or therapist can frequently provide you with some additional parenting tools to make your life easier.
If you can see any of these eight areas within your life, individual or group therapy may be a positive option towards a better mental health.
- Is group therapy right for me?
- How much is individual therapy?
- How much is group therapy?
- What happens on the first day of therapy?
First day will take longer than any other subsequent visit. Since there is some paperwork to fill out, go over boundaries, limits to confidentiality, and procedures.
Therapist-patient services agreement and boundaries to go over.
Record release form.
Your medical history, including current medications.
A questionnaire about your symptoms or what brings you into see a therapist.
- How many sessions does therapy take?
It depends on many factors. Unlike many other medical health care conditions, there is no one specific answer to a procedure which could be done to you to get rid of your issues. Psychotherapy is a collaborative process between the therapist and you. Over the first few months, one should not ask the question, “Am I fixed?” Rather ask, “Am I moving in the right direction?” Spinning off of the old adage, “Psychotherapy is a journey, not a destination.”
Psychotherapy often requires a deeper examination of core issues, childhood events or past traumas. Every person is different and there is no one size fits all approach.
- How often should I attend therapy?
The most common frequency is once a week.
But there are times when two or more times per week could be appropriate, especially if the issue is acute and serious, or if the goal is to provide therapy in a condensed format for a reason like someone is preparing to go away to college, etc.
There are also times, when going every other week or once a month could make sense. I often taper clients to this kind of schedule after symptoms have been significantly reduced and the client has learned the skills to cope better on his or her own.
- What can I discuss in a therapy session?
Anything can be discussed in therapy. There is great flexibility about topics and existential questions can be the main focus for a particular client. With that said, we will be goal focused. If the goal is to come to a greater understanding or acceptance of existential issues, then we will spend the appropriate time on that. Without being overly rigid, we will navigate back to the goals and the agenda when we go off course. If something new comes up though, we will simply add it to the agenda in order to incorporate it into the longer-term goals.
- How do you know when it is time to stop therapy?
Ongoing assessment of your symptoms and your goals is a good idea for effective therapy. Together with your psychotherapist you want to discuss when stopping therapy or gradually tapering makes sense.
While some clients can continue to benefit from ongoing therapy, you never want to become dependent in a way that is counter-therapeutic, i.e., decreasing self-reliance, confidence, or independence. Likewise, therapy takes time and money, so those are resources to consider as well. No one should ever feel they can’t leave therapy. Therapists should happily have client’s complete therapy when the client is ready. This should be a very open dialogue. At the same time, if the client is continuing to benefit, dependency isn’t being fostered, and has the resources, a client doesn’t necessarily have to discontinue therapy either. While suffering may have decreased, some clients continue to identify areas for growth and can build on that, if it is beneficial to the client and therapy isn’t continuing because the client feels guilty or the therapist can’t let go for some reason. Therapists should work as efficiently and effectively as possible to help clients achieve their goals as expediently as possible.
- What is the role of the therapist?
Effective therapists function as both experts; conducting therapeutic techniques in session, educating clients about mental health issues and the scientific and research that supports the treatment of these issues, and as collaborative equal partners who recognize we are all in this together; empathizing and humanizing the experience of suffering and the path to healing and growth.