Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

"A good therapist has a deep interest in their client as an individual and will see and relate to them in ways that are sensitively tailored to the person’s specific needs. There is no one proven method of therapy – no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, because no one person is like the other. In order to be available to a patient and establish a solid relationship built on trust and understanding, the therapist has to be equally attuned to the patient and their own state of being." 

-Lisa Firestone Ph. D.

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How does therapy work?

Essentially, our job is to create safety and undo aloneness so you can free yourself to be yourself. Here is how it works.

When something really bad happens and we feel powerless to control our environment or our future, we create a psychological strategy to protect ourselves. These are called defenses. Defenses are not bad things; without them we literally couldn't function.

The bad news is that defenses can interfere with your quality of life ... your ability to love and be loved, to pursue goals or experience self worth. When that happens, our job is to help you work through or around these defenses. Many of these defenses developed outside of your conscious awareness during vulnerable times throughout your past. They are no longer necessary and are depriving you of experiencing the life that you want. Gently, compassionately and tenaciously, we dissolve these defenses so you can know and express your real nature

We do this by helping you connect with yourself as deeply as you are capable.  We also help you connect with us in an honest and deep way so you can experience the essential safety and security you need in order to heal.  As we work together, new restorative experiences associated with feeling loved and whole become available to you. Your relationship to yourself, your life and others starts to deepen and expand. Fear gives way to freedom and curiosity. Anger gives way to acceptance. And sorrow eases, creating room for resilience, love and self- activation.

Why do I need a therapist? Why can’t I just talk to a friend or a family member?

A friend or family member is not professionally trained to help you grow, heal and change. It's likely that your friends and family have been giving you their best advice for some time now, and if it were sufficient, you probably wouldn't be reading this. But here is why your friend's advice is different from a therapist.  Your friends want to maintain your friendship so they will probably tell you what they want to hear. Also, they will give advice that is based on their life’s experience. A trained therapist is interested in helping you find your own answers by helping you connect with what is true and right for you.

Will my insurance cover my therapy?

Many insurance companies will allow you or your provider to submit claims for your therapy appointments. You are not required to submit your sessions to your insurance company (you may choose to pay out of pocket). Should you wish to submit claims for reimbursement please check with your insurance company to ensure that preauthorization or other limitations will not affect your participation in therapy. Most insurance companies require a co-pay for each session. You will be responsible for paying to your provider any amount remaining after your insurance company has processed your claims.

How long does therapy last?

It would be so handy  to have an exact answer to this question. But unfortunately, we don't. It's kind of like trying to tell you how long a piece of string is. It depends on how long the string is ... right?

There are many factors to consider, such as: What sort of life have you had before coming to therapy? Why are you deciding now to come to therapy? How long has the problem been in the making? How have you coped with the problem up until now? How have your ways of coping compromised your deeper sense of aliveness and well-being? What are your goals or hopes for therapy? How will we know when they have been met?

I know, lots of questions here. Some of these questions cannot be answered right away; they are answered during treatment through discovery and understanding.

Here's how you will gain the most benefit from therapy. 

1. Look at the money you spend on therapy as an investment in your future. The benefits you experience will justify the expense. 

2. Be an active participant to your fullest capacity. Your therapy will take work - on your part and on mine. If you don't put honest effort forward you won't feel as if you are getting your money's worth and you will likely resent the cost.

 

What are the benefits of therapy?

  • Psychotherapy produced positive effects in 92% of respondents
  • The longer people stayed in therapy, the better their results.
  • People that were active in therapy did better than those that were passive. People that actively engaged by being open, asking questions, and following up did better.
  • For most psychological conditions, people in therapy alone did as well as people who had medication plus therapy.
  • Respondents who stayed in therapy only until insurance coverage allowed did worse than those who stayed until their concerns resolved.

Why is it a good idea to attend therapy every week?

As with many things, regular attention and participation greatly improves the impact of the activity.  Think about trying to meet a physical goal - health status, physical fitness - but only going to the gym once every few weeks. The results you achieve will be clearly impacted by the frequency with which you get to the gym.  Making a lifestyle or emotional change takes time and sustained attention.  We recognize the personal and financial commitment associated with choosing to initiate a course of therapy. We encourage you to respect your commitment to your work as we do and make time in your week for your appointment.

How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?

You really need to meet me face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what we're like as people and as professionals.  At our first meeting you should keep these questions in mind:

  • How easy is it to talk to her?
  • Does she seem like somebody I could trust?
  • Is she really listening to me?
  • Does she seem to know what she is doing?
  • Does she seem confident and competent?
  • Do I feel comfortable with her?
  • Could I ever show this person the deepest, ugliest parts of myself?
  • Does she seem to have the capacity to handle me 
  • Mostly, "Do I like her?"

I’m very private and it is important to me that issues I talk about are confidential. Is my confidentiality completely protected?

Yes. By law I am bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse, a threat to harm another person or if you are in danger of self harm. If you want to use a third party payer to pay for therapy it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case I will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer.