© 2013 Ellen Biros, MS, LCSW

Frequently Asked Questions

What is psychotherapy?

 

Psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy that helps you with your psychological problems which have accumulated over a long period of time.   Psychotherapy  is most effective when a trusting relationship is built between the you and your psychotherapist.  Once this occurs, psychotherapy may last from a few months to a few years.  Psychotherapy is a process of self-discovery.  With the help of the psychotherapist, you can determine your life story and begin to understand and resolve emotional issues which have been causing you  psychological  and emotional problems in your life.  Psychotherapists provide support, problem solving, empathic listening and teach coping skills to assist you in problem resolution.  Psychotherapists listen differently than other people in your life, so having a independent third party perspective on a problem can assist you in looking at your problem from a different perspective.   In order to take full advantage of psychotherapy, you must be willing to practice the recommendations and tools that your therapist suggests.   Some of the benefits of psychotherapeutic treatment include: 

 

  • Learning new ways to cope with life stressors

  • Developing the ability to identify and nuture healthy realtionships

  • Resolving painful life experiences which may contribute to emotional distress

  • Acquiring new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

  • Teaching problem solving and life skills

  • Gaining a different perspective on what seems to be an impossible problem

  • Assisting in developing healthier belief systems and thought processes

  • Discovering new behaviors that do not feed anger, depression and anxiety

  • Improving communication and interpersonal skills with family, friends and partners

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How do I know if I need help?   

 

It is time to seek professional therapeutic help if:

 

  • The way you feel is affecting your sleep, appetite, work or your relationships.

  • You are having long periods of time when you are feeling sad, overwhelmed, anxious, or hopeless.

  • You are having difficulty functioning on a daily basis.

  • You are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else.

  • You have engaged in behavior that is harmful to yourself or others.

  • When you feel as though you have tried everything and things are not getting better.

 

How do I know if therapy is right for me?

 

The only way to know if therapy is right for you is to try it.  Many times therapy works best when you find a therapist that you like, feel safe with and connect with.  Don't stop trying until you find the right fit.   Most research confirms the claim that therapy works for most clients.  Many people report relief from depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and other issues which are affecting their lives in a negative way.  Other people seek therapy as a way of problem solving, personal growth and life exploration.

 

How does therapy work?

 

Your therapist is able to give you an objective perspective on your feelings, thoughts and behaviors and can help you develop ways to deal with different situations.  Because your therapist has unique listening skills, he/she can provide a more neutral viewpoint than other people in your life.  This will lead to a deeper understanding of your issues.  In order for your therapy to be productive and successful, the relationship you have with your therapist is critical.  You should feel, heard, understood and accepted by your therapist.  In therapy, you may explore deep feelings of conflict and pain, and your deeping trust for your therapist will provide a safe, supportive environment for resolution of conflict.

 

Depending on the issues you are interested in resolving, your therapist may ask you to attend weekly or bi-weekly sessions.  Your therapist will know the best course of action to take for you to get the best results.  Your therapist may also ask you to do outside reading or writing.  Your therapist may suggest books to read or topics to write about to help you process the discussions you have during your therapy session.  The goal of therapy is to help you develop skills you can use on a daily basis to cope with life and its challenges.  Most of the work you do will be outside of your therapist's office, so it is important to actively participate in the process.

 

 

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How do I know if I can use my health insurance?

 

In order to determine whether your visits with a mental health provider will be covered by insurance, you should call your insurance company.  Most insurance companies also have eligibility and benefits information on their website, so this is an option as well.   There are several questions to ask: 

 

  • Does my insurance plan cover behavioral or mental health visits?

  • Have I met my out of pocket deductible for the current year?

  • Can I see an out of network provider and will my insurance cover any of the costs?

  • Do I have a copay that I have to pay at the time of my visit?  

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How does confidentiality work in therapy?

 

Confidentiality between client and therapist is treated with the utmost importance by state law and professional ethics.  A therapist holds in confidence all information obtained during the course of the therapist/client relationship beginning with your first session.  At your first session, the therapist should provide you with a written document outlining their terms of confidentiality.  This document should be reviewed with you at your first session and is known as “Informed Consent”.  If you would like your therapist to provide information that you have shared in sessions with another person;, you will need to provide written permission to do so.  This written permission is known as a "Release of Information" and your therapist, by law, cannot release any information about you without it.  

 

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule including: 

 

  • If the therapist suspects past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders based on information provided by you or outside sources.

 

  • If the therapist believes you are in danger of harming yourself or you have threated to harm another person.