Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: What happens in a therapy session?
ANSWER: I use a gentle body-mind approach to deepen our work in talk therapy. We’ll do a lot of talking, with pauses at times to use mindfulness to become aware of what else is going on within you as we speak.
Thinking is a standard way of learning about our experiences. But your body also can “speak” to you through sensations, emotions and subtle movements. I invite the wisdom of your body to inform our explorations as well as your intellect.
QUESTION: Why is incorporating the body important?
ANSWER: Our intellectual abilities help to a degree, but they also help keep some information out, information that perhaps would be unwelcome in certain important relationships, or information that is heavy to be aware of.
By letting the body speak, in the supportive environment of the therapeutic relationship, you become clearer about your experience and less burdened by it at the same time. The combination of clarity and validation empowers you to be proactive with the insights you gain.
QUESTION: What if I can’t think of anything to talk about?
ANSWER: Many of us need time to get to know our therapist before we’re comfortable talking freely. Part of my job is to create an atmosphere in which you feel comfortable with me. Until that time comes, I have plenty of questions to keep us connecting.
QUESTION: What if talking makes my anxiety worse?
ANSWER: There are things that are too hard to talk about. One of my jobs, as your therapist, is to work with you to keep the session a time and place where you will be able to relax. So talking about the really hard times might have to wait.
The good news is, you might not have to talk about it at all. Often, there will be less difficult experiences to work through and the benefits will generalize to the harder ones that you’re not ready to talk about.
The bottom line is, if it’s too hard to talk about, my job is to help you avoid it and focus on the material you can talk about.
QUESTION: What if talking makes my depression worse?
ANSWER: It’s not uncommon to feel worse before you feel better. Talking about the hard things brings them into clearer focus, which can bring your mood down.
But usually, people also report a sense of relief that they now have someone to talk to. That’s the beginning of change. Over time, you’ll grow in response to our conversations. Gradually, the depression will loosen its grip.
QUESTION: How long are sessions? How often do we meet?
ANSWER: Therapy sessions vary in length from fifty to sixty minutes, depending on how you’re paying, and, if using insurance, depending on the type of plan you have.
Generally, people choose to attend weekly; it keeps the work moving. However, some find that weekly sessions are too intense or unnecessary. They prefer to come every other week. When there’s a crisis, some elect to come twice a week until the crisis has subsided.
Whatever your situation, most insurance plans will let you decide how often we meet. If paying privately, of course, we’ll discuss the frequency of visits that feels right to you and that I can accommodate.
QUESTION: How can I tell if therapy is working?
ANSWER: Here’s how you’ll know. You want to come back for more. You may not be able to pinpoint why… at first. It just feels better to attend your appointment than to skip it.
One or more of the “five good things” (RCT) are taking place:
- You have moments in the session when you feel energized, or “zestful”
- You grow in self-understanding – and in your sense of connection with your therapist
- Your sense of self worth expands
- You sense a new capacity to take action
- Your desire to connect—with your therapist and/or with others—increases.
QUESTION: Can I try a session before paying?
ANSWER: Yes, but if you decide to book another appointment, you have to pay for the first one.
QUESTION: Why can’t I solve this on my own?
ANSWER: Human beings are “wired” for connection. We are neurologically designed to work through our problems with others who give us feedback and cheer us on.
When we get depressed or anxious, we need to feel understood and supported in order to work through our worse problems. The operative word here is “need.” Our neurological wiring requires empathic support.
For more information on this topic, please see my article, “Why It’s Hard to Choose Therapy and Why It Helps.”
QUESTION: How confidential is it, really?
ANSWER: It’s really, really confidential… unless you’re using insurance, in which case it’s a little less so.
HIPPA laws apply to psychotherapy as with any medical treatment. Unless you have given me written permission to discuss your process in therapy with someone else, all your information stays with me.
However, if you are using insurance, your insurer requires that I share certain personal information on the claim I submit for reimbursement.
Also, there are extreme conditions under which, by law, I have to break confidentiality and get others involved with your care:
– If you tell me you are determined to kill yourself, or someone else, and you can’t contract for safety, I have to, by law, contact the appropriate people to keep you from self-harm or harming another. Or,
– If you have children in your care who are minors and you tell me things that make me concerned that they are being neglected or abused, then I have to contact the Department of Children and Families. In the unfortunate event that I have to take such action, I always try to discuss with you first.