“If we dare reflect on our emotions, they can build our intuition and fuel our very healing and our growth.”

What can I expect from my first appointment with a therapist?


Many people feel nervous before their first appointment, wondering what their therapist will ask, or what they should tell their therapist. Your therapist will primarily want to hear the reasons you made the appointment, what you have already done to try and solve the problem, and what you hope to accomplish in therapy. To better understand you, your therapist will likely want to know how things are going in the important parts of your life (relationships, work, school, etc.) as well as information about your background. If you and your therapist decide to continue working together, you will begin developing goals for therapy. If you do not feel comfortable with your therapist for any reason, please say so, and your therapist will be happy to provide you with a referral to another therapist.

 

What is psychotherapy?

The less aware we are of our thoughts, feelings, motives, and behaviors, the more they control us. Psychotherapy helps clients understand their “stories”; the experiences that shaped them, the defenses that have helped protect them and the patterns or habits that are now preventing them from living a satisfying life. Psychotherapy is a dialogue. The client presents data, the therapist offers ideas about its meaning, the client responds with his/her interpretation, and so on. It is important that psychotherapy progresses at a pace that is comfortable and safe for the client. Change can feel frightening or overwhelming and may not occur quickly.

What can psychotherapy do for me that a self-help book can’t?

Self-help books contain generalizations, based on someone else’s story, or on a combination of stories. While self-help books play an important role in our culture, they don’t offer the flexible, individualized approach that is often needed to bring about lasting life changes. In addition, books do not offer the therapeutic relationship that can encourage us and hold us to a greater level of accountability.

How do I choose the right therapist for me?

Read our therapist’s profiles to determine which person’s approach and specialties feel right for you. Most people can tell after an initial session whether they feel comfortable with a therapist’s style. Please feel free to speak up if you do not feel comfortable with the therapist, it will not offend us whatsoever. We want you to feel that you can develop an alliance of trust with your therapist – that is when therapy works best. We want to help you get to the right therapist.

Can I expect to feel better right away?

Some people begin to feel better as soon as they make their appointment or at the time of their first session. There can be a sense of relief when you make the commitment to address an issue that is problematic. More often, however, people do not feel better immediately. Therapy is sometimes emotionally painful, because it involves an active effort to look at yourself and your life situations in a very deep and honest way, and to make some difficult changes. If the problems that bring you to therapy were easy to solve, you would have solved them without the guidance of a professional. Though the short-term distress of addressing problems and making changes may feel challenging, keep in mind that the potential long-term gains can feel well worth it. When therapy is successful, the positive gains in self-esteem, improved relationships and coping skills will far outweigh the distress of making changes.

Do you accept insurance?

We accept many types of insurance, but it is up to you to make sure your insurance covers mental health care before engaging in therapy.  You should contact your insurance company to see whether they will cover your costs and how much they will pay. While there may be certain advantages to accepting services only from a provider who is in your network, often the savings do not justify the loss of the ability to choose your provider.

Many companies require the insured to call and pre-certify the first session. Our clinic also collects co-pays at each visit. Thus, it is always best to contact your insurance company before coming in for your first visit.

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What if I do not wish to use insurance?

Although we take insurance if that makes sense for your situation, we have several clients who choose not to use insurance. Some clients have concerns about the degree of privacy that can be maintained once a claim makes its way to a huge managed care company. Others do not wish to be given the mental illness diagnosis that all providers must assign them if they are filing an insurance claim.