Counseling FAQ's

How can therapy help me?
 
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:  

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Rewards and Risks Involved in Counseling:

Therapy has potential risks and rewards and your therapist should discuss these with you as part of the informed consent process. It is important that you understand the risks and benefits (as well as your rights and responsibilities as a client in counseling) before embarking on treatment because you will be asked to work in partnership with us to determine how we approach your treatment. Some of the benefits include having an advocate to help you work through goals, and providing an open space to process feelings  to better help your functioning.  Some other benefits include but not limited to:

  • Improved relationships
  • Improved communication skills
  • Improved coping skills (stress relief)
  • Clearer personal goals
  • Ability to set boundaries
  • Increased confidence
  • Coming to terms with past experiences
  • Decreased levels of depression and anxiety
  • A caring, interested listener focused on helping you
  • Increased self-acceptance

At times, changes brought by your efforts in therapy may cause some discomfort or anxiety; your feelings should be discussed with your counselor.  These feelings often accompany behavioral change, and are often a sign of progress.  Your clinician  can discuss with you other forms of therapy that you may decide would be more appropriate, such a referral to group therapy, a psychiatrist, a specialist in the area, or other forms of therapy.  Please be advised there are risks associated with therapy and with change, and that this process can be difficult and time consuming.  Often times, things get worse before they improve. Because therapy often means focusing on and talking about unpleasant or painful issues, in the near-term therapy can cause an increase in symptoms. 

Steps Insight is taking for your benefit:

Health care professionals are responsible for planning spaces and make appropriate safeguards for patients, and examine relevant local, state and federal policies to ensure appropriate accommodations.  Our practices understand the importance of creating an intimate and friendly space to facilitate desired therapeutic response. Plants, artwork, client’s rights, therapist contact information, soothing, spa music and displaying credentials are important factors that we value in our space. 

Our space features a mindfulness room, dim and  soft lighting (since this is rated as more pleasant, relaxing, and calming than bright lighting), and natural light.  We carefully planned  spaces that are appealing across ALL  demographics. We also have white noise machines and additional soundproofing efforts that help to create more privacy. We also thought about the configuration of chairs and other furniture in the waiting area, with two separate spaces, as well as the ability to wait in the car and text the clinician to safeguard confidentiality when necessary.  

Why do I see information about Reclaim Counseling in the office space?

Since Insight and Reclaim are two separate groups using the same building, we understand the importance of two separate phone lines with separate cell phone numbers for each counselor.  Room temperature also influences comfort and we hope to balance this with both counselors and clients. Our health care organization here considers an ideal range of comfortable temperatures for our workplace. Our health care provider team and professionals have made it a practice to ensure reasonable safeguards for individuals’ health information  by  speaking in closed room when discussing a patient’s condition, by avoiding using patients’ names in public hallways and waiting areas and posting signs to remind employees to protect patient confidentiality, by isolating and  locking file cabinets or records rooms.  Both groups have separate record storage , and do not have access to the other groups file cabinets, by providing additional security, such as passwords, on computers.  

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.  
  
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face. 

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.   

What is therapy like?
 
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
 
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.   
 
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  
 
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. 
 
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
 
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

The Privacy Rule requires a covered entity to have in place appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information (PHI), including reasonable safeguards to protect against any intentional or unintentional use or disclosure in violation of the Privacy Rule. We value and take maintaining personal information very serious.  It is important to note that waiting rooms can pose hidden risks in terms of information.  The very fact that a patient has to attend in person necessitates at least a minor breach of confidentiality, because there will almost always be other people in the waiting room observing the patient’s presence.  This cannot reasonably be  prevented.  The risk of infection and virus and sickness is another that we will safeguard against but not guaranteed.  One must understand coming in person poses risks. 

However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations: 

  • Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
  • If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
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