How do I choose a therapist?

Don’t underestimate your ability to find the right person for you. Many times, the answer lies within the place we scientifically call “the gut”! Simply put, after you have done your research, found someone with experience in your area of difficulty and spoken with that person, you can decide whether you feel comfortable, listened to, and understood. Research tells us that the rapport that exists between therapist and client is at least as important, if not more, than factors such as therapeutic orientation and training.

How long are sessions?

Sessions are 45 minutes and are booked in advance, so it is important for you to arrive promptly in order to derive the most benefit from your allotted time.

What if I have to cancel an appointment?

You will always be given the opportunity to make up a session at some other time during the week. Cancelled sessions that are not made up are subject to a full charge at the doctor’s discretion.

What am I supposed to “do” in therapy?

Excellent question! Just as your therapist has a role, you too have a role in treatment. It is your responsibility to make and keep regular appointments in order to maintain the continuity of your treatment. It is important for you to be on time to your appointments and to take an active role. Your therapist is not there to give advice and tell you what to do, but rather to work with you in a collaborative manner toward discovery and change. It is also helpful for you to reflect on your sessions between appointments in order to prepare for your next session. Ask questions about your treatment, the basis for the suggested treatment plan, and the therapist’s background in treating your particular areas of concern. Discuss your expectations for therapy, including your desired outcomes and goals.

How long does therapy last?

There is no set “rule” for how long therapy lasts, but this is a good question to ask your therapist after you have discussed your concerns. Some concerns can be resolved in a relatively short time, typically three to six months, while other issues may require more time to address. It is not the purpose of therapy to foster a dependent relationship, but rather to assist you in moving toward more optimal functioning. Again, your participation is key. Research suggests that the highly motivated client approaches treatment more actively and reports improved mood and functioning more rapidly.

Will insurance cover the cost?

Generally, your insurance will cover a portion of your cost, provided you have mental health benefits included in your policy. You should check your insurance coverage by calling your insurance company directly or consulting with your human resources representative. Important questions to ask include: in network and out of network coverage rates, any deductibles associated with seeking services, your ability to select your own provider of services, the number of visits that are allowed, and rates of co-insurance (if applicable).

What is the difference between psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists?

Psychologists possess a doctorate level degree, obtained after completing college and at least four years of graduate school. In addition, psychologists have completed one additional year of internship training, where they are supervised in the provision of psychotherapy by other experienced psychologists. Licensed psychologists have completed additional examinations required by the state to demonstrate their skills in formulating diagnoses, conducting psychotherapy, and assessing clients’ needs. Generally, licensed psychologists have the most training in assessment and psychotherapy across a broad spectrum of concerns and diagnoses.

Psychiatrists are M.D.s with a specialty in psychiatry. As such, they frequently approach treatment from a medical model, prescribing psychopharmacological treatment versus conducting psychotherapy. They can provide an important adjunct to treatment when medication is a part of a treatment plan. Some psychiatrists do provide talking therapy in addition to medication, but you should find out in advance of your appointment how your psychiatrist addresses assessment and medication management.

Psychotherapists include master’s level clinicians, such as social workers and counselors, and counselors who may have additional certifications and training. Frequently, they do not have the level of training that is associated with Licensed Psychologists.