Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapy?Sometimes your path takes a sharp turn, seems never-ending, or comes to an abrupt dead-end. Relationships may not be as satisfying as they once were and you may be struggling to find any pleasure at all. Finding a new route can be difficult, especially when you aren’t sure which road to take.
Whether you are traveling alone or with another, finding positive avenues to growth is possible and can help bring some direction to your life. Therapy can be a wonderful resource and I can help you get started down the right path. There are no easy fixes, but you can develop a relationship with another trusted person who can help you identify what the issues are and learn tools that can help you cope with life events or just plain everyday living. As your goals are met, life may feel less anxious and sad, giving you hope, energy, and direction.
People who go to therapy are generally neither “crazy,” nor “damaged.” Most often, the people who seek therapy are ordinary people struggling with different life circumstances. Only a small minority of people who go to therapy suffer from serious mental illness. Most people go to therapy to solve a problem, improve their relationships, or for personal growth. Sometimes it helps to have someone who is non-judgemental, objective, and present with you to help with the twists and turns of your life path.
Why do people seek therapy?• A general feeling of unhappiness.
• Relationships might be difficult and anxiety provoking.
• A lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
• A feeling of sadness and depression, even getting out of bed in the morning might be difficult.
• There has been a life event that has affected confidence and well-being.
• An interest in personal growth and more self-awareness.
• There is a struggle with a current relationship and how to move forward.
• Past issues may be causing the person difficulty.
• Life might feel out-of-control at times.
• A feeling of uncertainty and fear of the future.
• Thought patterns may be affecting life in a negative way.
• Anxiety and fear get in the way of feeling happiness, maybe even causing panic feelings.
• A feeling like the person is a victim to the past or their current situation.
• To change unhealthy patterns that may continually wreak havoc in the person’s life.
What can I expect in the first appointment? When you call my office, you will reach me directly, so feel free at that time to ask any questions about what to expect. During the initial phone call, we will set up an appointment time to meet. Be sure to let me know if we will be filing any insurance when you call, as I want to be sure I am “in-network” with your particular insurance network. Set aside 50 minutes for the sessions, although the first session may run over by 10 minutes or so.
Often, I may be in a session when you arrive for the first time. In that case, I will leave paperwork for you on the coffee table. If you can arrive 10 or 15 minutes early, all the paperwork will be finished up and we can make the most of our time and start at the top of the hour. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I tend to be on time.
During our first session together, I will want to gain an understanding of the nature of the problem, how it is affecting your life, and what past events may have contributed to it. I will do this by asking questions, but also by listening closely to your concerns. The focus will be on getting to know each other and working toward building a close, trusting alliance.
How long do I have to come to therapy?All clients have different needs. Early in therapy, we will develop goals to give us direction, as well as to provide us with a “roadmap” of what will be needed to make the most of our time together. This will help determine how long therapy will last. During the course of therapy, we will re-evaluate, checking in to see if we are going in the right direction. I welcome your feedback regarding your feelings about the progress you are making.
What is group counseling?Group counseling is a type of counseling in which you meet for 60-90 minutes with a small number of people under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist not only to help yourself, but each other. It provides a place where you can come together to work on similar issues in order to better understand your own situation and learn from and with the other people in the group.
Group counseling works! In studies comparing group counseling to individual sessions, groups have been shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective. Most clients find it helpful to talk to others who share similar problems and they feel better by participating in this type of counseling.
It's not unusual to feel awkward or uneasy when you first join a group, but soon feelings of trust and interest will begin to develop. After getting to know the other members, you may find a great deal of relief from the experience of talking to others who are struggling with something you are also finding difficult--in a private, safe setting.
Some of the advantages of groups include:
- Group members can be role models to other members of the group. When someone makes progress, it gives hope and support to the others.
- Group counseling is very cost effective.
- Group counseling can offer a safe environment. The group can be a place to discuss sensitive topics in the security of a confidential, trusting haven.
What is sex therapy? Sometimes the way we function sexually can be a problem, affecting how we feel about ourselves and our relationships. Sex therapy is generally a more focused type of therapy, so it may be of shorter duration than psychotherapy. Despite what people may think, sex therapy is talk therapy. I will not ask you to take your clothes off, or touch you in any way. What I may do is ask you to practice exercises at home--either with your partner or by yourself. We will talk about what is keeping you from experiencing a satisfying sex life, as well as developing some basic tools to help with that endeavor.
Over the course of a person’s lifetime stress, trauma, illness, depression, medications, and the lack of self-esteem can often negatively impact a person’s sexual functioning and desire. It is not uncommon for couples and individuals to experience sex-related challenges at some point in their lives. Everybody deserves to experience satisfying, exciting, loving and fulfilling sexual relationships and sexual contact; sex therapy can often help. To find a sex therapist in your area, go to AASECT.org.
What kinds of problems can be treated with sex therapy? • Painful intercourse (Dyspareunia)
• Sexual abuse or sexual trauma
• Body image problems that affect your sex life
• Vaginismus (spasms of the vagina)
• Lack of sexual desire
• Questions about your sexuality
• Difficulties with erections
• Difficulties with the timing of ejaculation
• Difficulty having orgasms with yourself or your partner
• Inability to relax and enjoy sexual interaction
• Relationship problems that affect sexual functioning
• Difficulty discussing sex with your partner or physician
• Anxiety about sexual performance
• Sexual concerns surrounding a chronic condition or disability
• Affairs or excessive porn use
• When sex makes you feel guilty or ashamed
• Sexual behaviors that you feel get you into “trouble”
• You think you spend too much time thinking about sex