What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A professional with expertise 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.” Additionally, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life. Finally, we often hold back in sharing fully so as not to burden friends or family. When you work with a professional your time in session is 100% for and about YOU.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. Therapy is often described as a special kind of conversation and weekly one-hour appointments are the norm. The most important thing is to show-up and engage in the therapy process consistently. It is very important you feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable, it may not be a good fit. Studies show that the fit between therapist and client is critical and tied to positive outcome (1-3).
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Going to therapy is very similar to the experience of working with a a personal trainer. Talking about ways to increase your physical fitness, strength and flexibility will not yield results unless you take action. Likewise, therapy is not a passive experience. Your active commitment, full participation and willingness to practice new skills outside the therapy session is required for best results. I wrote an article on How To Get The Most Our Of Couples Therapy and you can find that on my blog here: https://suegreenetherapy.com/how-to-get-the-most-our-of-couples-therapy/
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both be willing to participate, I would initially suggest that I work with both of you together in couples therapy. If there are safety issues couples work may not be appropriate. When I am doing couples work, I sometimes request an individual session with each partner, but those individual sessions are intended to address relational issues that are affecting the couples work. After doing couples work, if one of you would later like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. Sometimes only one person in a partnership is willing to go to therapy and will work with me individually to help address relational issues. It is often not helpful to move from individual work into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues, however, in certain circumstances this may be acceptable and beneficial. I determine this on a case-by-case basis with time spent in assessment, preparation and full disclosure and discussion about potential risks and benefits before proceeding. For more information please go to my Blog and read my post on How To Get The Most Out Of Couples Therapy.
1. Safran, J.D., Muran, J.C., and Proskurov, B. (2009) Alliance, negotiation, and rupture resolution, in Handbook of Evidence Based Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (eds R. Levy and S.J. Ablon), Humana Press, New York, pp. 201-5.
2. Horvath, A.O. and Symonds, B.D. (1991) Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: a meta-anaysis, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38 (2), 139-149.
3. Martin, D., Garske, J., and Davis, M. (200) Relation of the therapeutic alliance with other outcome and other variables; a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 438-450.