Here are some questions we frequently get about therapy, therapists, and the process. Click on the question (or the down arrow at the right) to see the answer.
What is therapy?
Therapy is an opportunity to discuss/talk about issues that are important to the client, while having a trained objective person (Therapist) help work through not only the current situation but in dealing with similar situations in the future. Therapy can be about one specific problem, or it can be about multiple. Something to mention, is that therapy is a collaborative event, it requires an active role from both the client at the therapist for change to occur.
What are all the letters behind a therapist's name?
When looking for a therapist, the letters behind their name can describe their training. Some examples:
MA, MS, Med: Masters Degree.
PHD, PsyD, EdD: Doctoral Degree
LPC, LCSW: Licensed therapist,(Professional Counselor, Clinical Social Worker) Completed supervised hours
PLPC, PLCSW: Provisional therapist, Working on supervised hours after obtaining graduate degree
Why do people attend Therapy sessions / Why is Counseling beneficial?
People see a therapist for a wide range of reasons including but not limited to stress management to a specific diagnosis. Sometimes an event occurs that causes an individual to seek out help, while for others, they may attend therapy because it provides a trained objective person to help them work through some issues they may have been struggling with for years. Counseling can be beneficial because a client may feel a sense of control in their life and have the tools to be able to make better decisions or changes in their life.
How can therapy help me?
There are too many benefits of participating in therapy to list! Therapists can provide support, problem solving skills and coping strategies for a wide range of issues. Therapists, being objective, can provide a different or a fresh perspective on a problem that you have been struggling with.
Benefits of therapy depend on your commitment and level of readiness. Some benefits can include, boosting self confidence or improving self esteem, improving communication skills, learning/finding new coping skills, attaining a better understanding of yourself, changing old patterns and developing new ones, or managing your emotional feeling such as sadness, anger or other highly charged emotions you may be feeling.
What are the different types of therapy?
Individual – Client has one on one sessions with their therapist to address any concerns and work through and seek positive alternatives.
Group – With a therapist facilitator, the clients have the opportunity work through and support each other with similar interests. Group counseling enables a client to learn from others’ experiences and allows the client to see that they’re not alone.
Couples/Family – Helps reduce tension/conflict as well as improve communication skills with in the family unit.
How long is therapy?
Therapy sessions are typically 45-50 minutes, while groups run longer per session. Clients typically meet on a weekly or bi weekly basis depending on the client’s needs. Length of time while in therapy will depend on the individual client’s circumstance. The therapist and client will determine that together.
What is the difference between seeing a therapist, a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
As mental health therapists / counselors the scope of treatment is talk-therapy. Typically therapists have their masters degree, and yearly cont. education. While, psychologists also provide counseling services they also provide psychological testing for schools, courts and other entities. Psychiatrists tend to limit their talk therapy / counseling services and are typically available for medication management. If your therapist feels that you may need medication, they will provide you with a referral to doctors that they may recommend. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specialists in behavior.
If medication is necessary, typically in these clients, medication and talk therapy are used together. Medication therapy is not a replacement for talk therapy.
What does the first session look like?
The initial session will be an initial assessment to discuss the client’s history and needs for treatment. During this first session the client will have the opportunity to see how therapy will work, review office policies, privacy and confidentiality, as well as determine whether or not they are comfortable with the therapist.
Side note: It’s vital to have a positive working relationship with your therapist, so it’s recommended that the client and therapist will meet 2-3 times before deciding whether or not the relationship will continue. The therapist will provide client with referrals of specialists or trusted colleagues if they feel someone else might better be able to work with the client.
How do therapists work with other professionals?
In order to preserve the continuity of care, it’s important to work with school counselors, pediatricians, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, etc. With written permission, therapists can provide treatment plans or answer questions that other professionals may have. If a client needs their therapist to work with other professionals in their life, please don’t hesitate to ask.