I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. Everyone goes through challenges in their life, and while you may have used your strengths to navigate other difficulties you’ve faced, sometimes we may struggle to access those same strengths in new and different situations. It takes courage to recognize you feel overwhelmed and may benefit from a little extra support or even a fresh perspective. In fact, those that seek therapy have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking a professional.
Research actually shows that working with a therapist provides long-lasting benefits by giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, heal damaging patterns and behaviors, and overcome whatever challenges you face. We all have strengths that we may not be utilizing to our fullest potential, so I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what you’re currently going through so you can get those long-lasting changes you’re seeking.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Family and friends are sometimes biased and are not always the most beneficial when we need real guidance and support. This could be for a number of reasons. Because they love us and don’t want to hurt our feelings, family and friends may take our side or defend our actions even when we haven’t made the best decisions. Often times our loved ones get tired of trying to offer support or new ideas, or, because they want the best for us, they will just try to tell you what to do to fix the problem. And let’s be real, sometimes our friends and family may be part of the problem that brought us to therapy in the first place!
With all that said, a qualified mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. A therapist’s job is not to tell you what to do, it’s to help you learn more about yourself and your needs so you can make the best decisions for yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your old patterns and behaviors, and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals. Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy, but if this is a concern of yours we can discuss this more in our work together.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. Generally speaking, those that attend therapy regularly, are motivated to make lasting changes, and follow through with what they learn in our sessions will progress the quickest.
What are the benefits of therapy?
When you work with a therapist you feel connected with, it gives you the opportunity to talk through and address your frustrations and emotions in a supportive, empathic, and caring environment. Therapists provide support, problem-solving skills, and improved coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Counselors can be a tremendous asset in helping you achieve personal growth, more satisfying interpersonal relationships, address family concerns, work through marriage issues, and cope with the problems of daily life. Therapists are helpful in providing their clients with new perspectives on their problems and experiences, and also can guide you towards a solution or some type of needed closure. The benefits you will obtain from therapy depend on your motivation and commitment level; it’s just like anything else in life, the more you put into it and practice the skills you learn, the more successful you will be in reaching your goals. To sum it up, some of the benefits you may attain from therapy include:
- Reaching a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and values
- Developing skills for making your relationships more fulfilling
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other intense emotional concerns
- Improving communication skills and learning how to establish better interpersonal boundaries
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Ameliorating physical symptoms of stress (i.e., headaches, stomach aches, sleeping problems, ulcers)
How to get the best results from therapy
It is important to understand that you will get the best results from therapy if you are proactive in the process and willing to do the work. I cannot guarantee success by you simply showing up to your sessions. I am your guide and teacher in this process, and we will work together as a team to address what you feel is important and relevant, but you will need to make the link between what you learn in our sessions and your everyday life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to bolster your progress – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting and/or practicing particular behaviors, or taking actionable steps towards your goals. Generally, the clients that fare the best are those that are ready to make positive changes in their lives by gaining new perspectives, taking responsibility for their lives, and consistently attending therapy sessions and applying what they learn. I am here to support you through the entire process, so I will regularly check in with you about how you feel like you are progressing and what we might need to tweak or adjust so you are reaching your goals.