What is the difference between a psychotherapist, psychologist, and a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Psychologists are practitioners who specialize in mental health testing and evaluation and sometimes counseling. Psychotherapists provide counseling and do not prescribe medication. I am a psychotherapist.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
On the contrary. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who cares for you and listens to you, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.”
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, counseling will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach and counseling style to your specific needs. In general, I would like for you to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issues, and of course report the progress your have made (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.
How long will it take?
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 weekly sessions initially, and then space them out as you see progress.
If I commit to therapy, what can I expect? How can I get the most out of therapy?
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of counseling is to help you take what you learn in sessions and apply it to your life and move forward. Beyond the work you do in our counseling sessions, if you are receptive to “homework”, I can suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your progress – such as practicing relaxation skills, journaling on a specific topic, reading a pertinent book, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together? What if they won’t come to counseling with me?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you.
If your partner is not willing to come to counseling I will be glad to see only you. Contrary to popular belief, one person can save a marriage. In fact, most of the people I counsel belong in this category. Even when both come to see me, one is usually dragging the other along, and often only one really cares about the doing the work. In my experience most torn relationships and marriages are brought to new life, new vitality, by the interest, basically, of only one person. I have seen numerous relationships saved when only one partner applied sound principles in a whole hearted commitment to the partner and the relationship.