IV. Personal Therapy
Choosing to seek therapy is an important and life-changing decision. Below, Dr. Esteve addresses the common questions and concerns about starting on the path to change and recovery.
Is therapy right for me?
“Seeking therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a professional as they pursue personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of challenges. Therapy is the right choice for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working toward positive change.”
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
“Everyone goes through challenging situations at times, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when needed. In fact, therapy is for people who realize they need a helping hand, and that is to be admired. You are accepting your situation in life and making a commitment to change by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to re-direct damaging patterns and overcome current and future challenges.”
How can therapy help me?
“A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Many people find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you may obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Common goals and benefits from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- 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
- Identifying and fighting negative triggers
- Resolving childhood issues
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence
And most important…
- Arriving at a more fulfilling and meaningful personal, family and professional life.”
What is therapy like?
“Every therapy session is unique and caters to the individual. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is also common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues and on-going personal growth.
There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track specific behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. During sessions, you can expect the following as part of the therapy environment:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven skills for life along with practical guidance for implementation”
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
“In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. 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.”
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work? “
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?”
Is therapy confidential?
“In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule including:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police and the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.”