IS THERAPY RIGHT FOR ME?
There are many reasons why people come to counseling. 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 counselor as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a counselor can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Counseling can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Counseling is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THERAPY?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and his or her specific goals. Therapists discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions, as well as develop some goals to work towards any identified concerns. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, with each session lasting around fifty minutes. During times of elevated crisis or stress, therapists may provide additional support by offering more frequent appointments. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing 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 certain behaviors, thoughts, or emotions. Since most of life happens outside of the therapy session, it is important to integrate what has been discussed there into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective, you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy who achieve the greatest results are those willing to be open and honest with their counselor, take responsibility for their actions, work towards change, and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of the therapist and your sessions:
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT THERAPIST FOR ME?
- Compassion, respect, and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO ADDRESS MY CONCERNS?
- Read our therapists’ profiles to determine which person’s approach and specialties feel right for you. If you need additional help in choosing a therapist, feel free to call the clinic, and our Director will assist you.
- Most people can tell after an initial session whether they feel comfortable with a therapist’s style. Please feel free to speak up if you do not feel comfortable with the therapist. He or she will be open to listening to your concerns and will attempt to make adjustments as necessary. Or, if you prefer, you can ask the receptionist to schedule you with a different counselor. We want you to feel that you can develop an alliance of trust with your therapist – that is when therapy works best. We want to help you get to the right therapist.
As with many situations, the answer to this question depends on various factors: the severity and duration of the problem, motivation to change, emotional resources and support that are available, as well as other variables in the process. Sometimes issues can be dealt with in only a few sessions; however, the healing process often takes a bit longer. The good news is that research clearly shows that most people get better though the process of therapy.
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. Exceptions include:
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
- 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.
- 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, such as notifying an emergency contact.
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 HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL OR MISS AN APPOINTMENT?
Family Legacy will bill your insurance directly.
- 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?
When an appointment has been scheduled, you will be expected to keep that appointment unless you let the office staff or your therapist know ahead of time that you are unable to attend. We have many clients who want to be seen and/or are on a waiting list to be contacted as soon as we are notified of cancellations. We will extend the same offer of a cancellation opening to you, as well. As a courtesy to our clients, we ask that you give advanced notice of any appointments that you need to cancel, so that we have sufficient time to contact people to let them know of an opening. If you do need to cancel an appointment, we ask that you notify our staff no later than 10:00 am on the workday preceding your appointment or you will be billed for the session fee for that time (e.g., a cancellation for a Monday appointment would need to be called in by Friday at 10:00 am). Please be aware that your insurance company will not provide reimbursement to you for charges due to late cancellations or missed appointments.If your missed appointment or late cancellation is due to an emergency or circumstances beyond your control, such as severely inclement weather, we would certainly understand and you would not be charged.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO BEFORE MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
Before your first meeting, you will need to go to the downloadable forms section on our website to download the paperwork you will need to bring with you to your first session. Also, you will receive a username and password to allow you to log in to our patient portal where you will be able to enter insurance and demographic information, and background information, as well. We do ask clients to complete that information prior to your first meeting because we find it makes that first session a more comfortable and more efficient one for you and your therapist if the information is in hand.
I WOULD LIKE MY PARTNER/SPOUSE TO COME TO THERAPY WITH ME, BUT HE/SHE IS UNWILLING. WHAT CAN I DO?
There are many reasons why people do not want to come in for therapy; they may feel that therapy means they are weak and cannot solve their own problems, they may fear being harshly criticized or they may not wish to make changes. If you and your partner are able to discuss the reasons, it is a good idea to do so. Sometimes partners will come in for a first appointment if they understand that it is an assessment and does not commit them to continuing in treatment. Sometimes, speaking to the therapist over the phone can dispel fears about the appointment. Also, partners may feel more comfortable starting with individual therapy rather than couples therapy. Although any couples’ issues are best addressed with both people in the session, there are still benefits to coming in alone and EXPLORING CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE WHICH COULD POSITIVELY IMPACT YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
WHAT IF I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN, CAN I STILL COME TO ONE OF YOUR THERAPISTS FOR COUNSELING?
The answer is: YES. You will be accepted and not judged, respected for who you are. Our staff of well-trained psychologists and therapists will do their very best to help you meet your goals (not ours) for therapy. All are welcome and all respected. The longer answer is that at Family Legacy Counseling, your therapist will be a person professionally trained and educated in providing therapy with a systemic perspective and using a variety of modalities (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy). The practice of therapy is inherently values based, as all of us have internal values from which we see the world. As such, Family Legacy derives its values from Biblical Christianity, which is seeing the worth, value, and importance of each human being. The incorporation of Biblical values, principles, and the like will only be done in collaborative consent with you the client. At Family Legacy, it is understood that you and your therapist will mutually respect each other’s unique values and will not attempt to infringe, coerce or otherwise force each other to violate the other’s own respective values.
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 symptoms, therapy addresses the causes 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.
CAN I EXPECT TO FEEL BETTER RIGHT AWAY?
Some people begin to feel better as soon as they make their appointment or after their first session. There can be a sense of relief when you make the commitment to address an issue that is problematic. However, some people do not feel better immediately. Therapy is sometimes emotionally painful, because it involves an active effort to look at yourself and your life situations in a very deep and honest way and to make some difficult changes. If the problems that bring you to therapy were easy to solve, you would have solved them without the guidance of a professional. Though the short-term distress of addressing problems and making changes may feel challenging, keep in mind that the potential long-term gains can be well worth it. When therapy is successful, the positive gains in self-esteem, improved relationships, and healthy coping skills will far outweigh the distress of making changes.
HOW LONG WILL MY APPOINTMENT LAST?
The standard therapy sessions last approximately 50 minutes. There are times when you may want to meet for a longer session. If so, please speak with your counselor if you are looking for longer sessions. Treatment duration varies anywhere from a few sessions, to many months of sessions, to intermittent as-needed sessions, based on your goals and what brings you into therapy. This is something you can discuss more specifically with your counselor once you have begun the process of meeting together.
DO YOU PRESCRIBE MEDICATION?
As licensed mental health counselors, clinical social workers and psychologists, we do not prescribe or provide medications. Many clients are prescribed medications by their primary care physicians. In addition, we are happy to refer you to a local psychiatrist for medication if you so desire.
DO YOU HAVE EVENING HOURS?
Most of our therapists have evening hours. Be sure to express any scheduling requirements you may have up front so we can direct you to a therapist who can meet your needs.