Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out 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 therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
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.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. 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
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is 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 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. 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. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- 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
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.
Why should I self-pay?
Insurance companies are in the business of health care. Insurance companies pay for healthcare services only, and therefore I have to diagnose you with a mental disorder and share my diagnosis with your insurance company during the billing process. Depending on your coverage, the insurance company may limit the number of sessions and require me to submit ongoing progress reports and treatment plans to justify the services I am providing. Many individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of being diagnosed with a mental disorder, and they may avoid seeking treatment because it doesn't feel safe, private and confidential. Insurance companies are legally required to keep all of your information strictly confidential, but there are many more people involved in your therapy when insurance companies are involved. Clients often share with me their fear that if they "get better" their insurance will deny them beneficial psychotherapy services, which places a strange burden on the client to continue to be symptomatic. There is consistent research that shows that clients whose insurance restricts their access to psychotherapy experience fewer benefits of therapy.
If you choose to pay out of pocket, I am able to offer you a payment plan so that you can receive the long-term benefits of psychotherapy without becoming financially overwhelmed in the short-term. We will discuss your financial situation at our first in-person appointment so that we can decide together how to manage the business aspect of the therapeutic relationship. I believe that my services offer tremendous value that persists long after our session ends. I also strive to create an office environment that is soothing, serene and convenient, so that you can feel that your treatment is a "treat" and a gift that you are giving yourself.
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?
For more details about health insurance plans and fees, please read this page.
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:
- Billing Insurance Companies and Employers for services (see "Why self-pay" section above), or other situations in which the client signs a contract that releases personal health information to a third party.
- Suspected child abuse or dependant 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.
Do you provide training for practicum, internship or post-doctoral trainees?
I provide consultations on an as-needed basis to doctoral-level psychology trainees and licensed clinicians. I am unable to provide office space or clients for trainees to collect clinical hours (i.e. internship hours or post-doc hours) for psychotherapy, assessment or other psychological services. My usual rate applies to consultation sessions. My clinical approaches include Mindfulness/Buddhist psychology, relational, psychodynamic, and CBT approaches, served up with a side of neuroscience.
What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist and a Psychotherapist?
I am a psychologist. I have a doctoral degree, which took 6 years to complete after my Bachelors Degree. I took 3 more years of post-graduate courses to specialize in clinical psychology. In addition I have completed an internship and a postdoctoral fellowship. I am licensed in CT and RI, and passed a vigorous comprehensive exam to qualify for this license. I am qualified to assess and treat mental illness and provide counseling, consultation, and psychotherapy for a variety of concerns from severe mental illness to brief difficulties with adjustment. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in providing medication treatment for mental illness. Some psychiatrists can also provide psychotherapy services. A psychotherapist may be licensed or unlicensed. Some examples of licensed psychotherapists may be Social Workers, who typically have completed a Masters Degree (which takes 1-2 years after completing a Bachelors Degree) and supervised work experience, or Licensed Professional Counselors, or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. There are no licensing requirements to call oneself a "Counselor" or a mere "Psychotherapist".