I’ve never had individual counseling. What can I expect in the ﬁrst session(s)?
We begin with an initial consultation where I help you to describe the issues you are struggling with. This process gives us both the opportunity to learn about you, to develop an understanding of the problems you want to work on, and to formulate ideas about how treatment should proceed.
Then I will collaborate with you to develop treatment goals and a plan to achieve them, and make recommendations about the frequency of sessions, the duration of treatment, and the therapeutic approaches best suited to your speciﬁc needs and concerns.
I understand the emotional beneﬁts of individual therapy, but how does it help with my physical health?
There is an inseparable connection between your mind and body. Because every thought, feeling and reaction you experience has a corresponding chemical and hormonal reaction in your body, chronic emotional stress like depression, anxiety, a negative body image, and relationship conﬂict can have a dramatic effect on your physical health.
That’s exactly why resolving emotional conﬂicts can help to not only improve your mood and brighten your outlook, but can also help protect your physical well-being (stronger immune system, lower blood pressure).
How will talking about my problems help me to feel better?
Individual counseling is more then just “talking”. It is a journey of self-discovery that gives you the opportunity to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, reactions and behaviors, and how they can be obstacles to your happiness and fulﬁllment.
This increased awareness stimulates psychological growth by giving you the emotional freedom to make transformative changes, and a greater ability to ﬁnd new alternatives and lasting solutions to the problems you’ve been struggling with.
How do I know if I need individual counseling?
If you’re having behavioral, relational, physical, or emotional problems that are limiting your happiness or your options in life, you may want to see how individual therapy can help.
What are some examples of problems people seek individual counseling for?
- Frequently feeling depressed, anxious, worried or lonely
- Unresolved traumas or conﬂicts of the past affecting your ability to enjoy the present
- Concerns about body image, food, eating, or weight, and treatment for eating disorders
- Relational difﬁculties – family, romantic, social
- Grief related to the loss of a loved one from divorce, a breakup, or death
- Questions/confusion about sexuality, gender, or religion
- Sexual difﬁculties
- Poor impulse control
- Thoughts of physically harming yourself or another
- Substance abuse
- Physical symptoms with no known medical cause
How many sessions will I need?
After your ﬁrst session, I can give you a general estimate of the length of treatment.
What is the frequency of sessions?
Though by no means set in stone, many people choose to start with a weekly session increasing or decreasing the frequency as needed. I will help you to determine a frequency that best meets your needs.
How long do sessions last?
The duration of an individual session is 50 minutes.
How do I know when it is time to stop coming to therapy?
I suggest that you continue individual counseling until you feel you have resolved the emotional issues that originally brought you to therapy and that you have made the behavioral changes you wanted to make. You may decide at this point, having accomplished your therapeutic goals, that you are inspired to continue our work together in order to bring about additional adaptive changes. I can help you to clarify new goals and advise you on how to proceed in ways that best meet your needs.
Conversely, you may ﬁnd that upon meeting your initial goals you are satisﬁed with what you’ve accomplished and choose to discontinue your therapy. At this point many people request to “leave the door open” if they should want to return at some point or come in for a “checkup” while others are more comfortable with a deﬁnitive and conclusive ending. In either case it can be very useful to set a date for your last session leaving enough time to clarify your feelings about ending the therapeutic relationship, and to process your feelings about separation, maturation, loss and change.
How is talking with a therapist different then talking with a supportive friend or family member?
A seasoned therapist has the education, training, skills and professional experience to help you successfully ﬁnd lasting solutions to the problems you are struggling with.
Such a therapist knows exactly how to cultivate a supportive, dynamic, and transformative relationship with you, that in and of itself can be an important agent of change. Within the context of this relationship positive changes in your outlook and behaviors are able to unfold. This therapeutic relationship is unique because unlike other well-intentioned people in your life, a therapist has been trained to listen objectively and without criticism, which can make it easier for you to speak freely and to therefore provide as much information to work with as possible.
What if I need to see a psychiatrist for medication?
While many people beneﬁt from individual psychotherapy alone, you may ﬁnd that a carefully selected medication can improve your mood, ease excessive anxiety, and facilitate more rapid progress towards your therapeutic goals.
Though I’m unable to prescribe medication, I can competently advise you on different options available. I can also facilitate a referral to a carefully chosen psychiatrist for a medication consultation, and with your permission collaborate with him or her to insure that your needs are effectively being met.
What about conﬁdentiality?
Knowing that I will maintain strict conﬁdentiality is critical for you to trust me and feel safe to share the intimate details of your life. I encourage you to address any questions or concerns you may have about this important issue with me. All aspects of your treatment including the scheduling of appointments, content of counseling sessions, and any records kept are strictly conﬁdential as outlined by federal and state law. Communication between us may only be disclosed if : (a) you sign a release form authorizing such disclosure, (b) you are in immediate danger of seriously harming yourself or someone else, or c) your records are requested by a valid subpoena or court order.