Frequently Asked Questions
- What kinds of therapy do you provide?
- We tend to use a cognitive-behavioral orientation for most therapies. However, we use a number of different techniques and styles depending on what has been shown effective with different types of problems, and with each client’s goals for therapy. Some specific therapy programs available include:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Marital Therapy (psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral)
- Brief, solution-focused techniques
- Systematic Desensitization Behavioral Programs
- Behavioral Interventions for children
- Nurtured Heart approach for Difficult Children
- Parent Management Training
- Comprehensive Behavior Training for Tics
Regardless of the ·type· of therapy provided, we provide the features shown generally healing in a therapy relationship: empathy, listening, respect, confidentiality, safety.
- What will therapy do for me?
- That really depends on your goals.
For persons with a general discomfort with life, general difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and phase of life type problems, traditional psychotherapy provides a safe environment for coming to understand one’s values, automatic tendencies, background issues and temperament which contribute to one’s current lifestyle and feelings. By developing an understanding of these factors, one gains some control of them, and can make more deliberate choices about how to live, and attain greater life satisfaction.
For persons with specific issues they wish to conquer (e.g. depression, anxiety, posttraumatic symptoms, specific relationship issues, grief, etc), goals will be worked out with the therapist, and therapy will proceed to resolve those issues in a manner which meets the stated goals. The therapist and client will frequently evaluate progress, and adjust course as needed.
- Do you provide psychological testing?
- We are not set up to provide routine psychological testing at this time. If during the course of therapy, a need for specific testing becomes apparent, a limited amount of testing may be conducted. If more extensive testing is needed, or if such testing might interfere with the therapeutic relationship, or if the testing is not needed for therapeutic reasons, a referral will be made to a clinic where such testing is routinely conducted.
- Do you provide substance abuse counseling?
- We are not Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors. We do not provide services where controlling substance use is the primary target. However, a significant number of persons with mental health issues also have substance abuse issues. We will work with the whole person, including substance abuse, in order to treat the target problem. If the substance use component is beyond our ability to treat, we will refer the client to another program for simultaneous treatment. In cases where the substance use is the primary issue, or must be dealt with before other progress can be made, we will refer the client to a substance abuse provider only.
- How long will therapy take?
- Length of treatment varies widely. There are times when a single session is sufficient to obtain the help needed. Many discreet problems can be adequately resolved within 6 to 12 sessions. Persons with a number of complicated issues typically get the most benefit after 20 or more sessions. Traditional psychotherapy, or very complicated situations, may require from 6 months up to a couple years of treatment.
- How do I know if I need therapy?
- Deciding if you need therapy is similar to deciding if you need a mechanic, or a medical doctor. Basically, if a problem is mostly dealing with emotions (fear, anger, sadness, lack of emotion), one’s view of or interaction with the world (self, relationships, others), or behaviors (unintended reactions, ways of acting on emotions, etc), it likely falls within the expertise of a psychotherapist.
If the problem has lasted longer than expected, is not one you feel you can resolve by yourself, is causing severe enough difficulties that it is intolerable, is likely to cause serious problems in the future, or you want it checked out to make sure it is not such a serious problem, then a psychotherapist is likely to be helpful.
One has to weigh the potential costs of therapy (money, time, possible pain of self-examination or of altering patterns), and the potential for gaining control over the problem area, and make an informed decision.
- Won’t talking about my problems make me feel worse?
- Some people feel considerable relief just having somebody with whom to share their problems. Others tend to avoid thinking and talking about their difficulties, as it brings up painful memories and emotions. Typically, there will be some emotionally tough times during therapy sessions which brings a painful focus on the problem area, and so it feels worse for a short time. However, this does not worsen the problem, and actually brings relief once issues are out in the open where one can cope with and make plans to control them.
Another aspect of therapy which can be difficult and sometimes painful is when difficult changes are necessary in order to meet our goals. This pain also typically goes away with successful changes.
The therapist will be there to help predict and cope with the pain that bringing issues back up, or making changes can bring. One part of the therapist’s job is to help you proceed with the issues and/or changes at a pace that keeps the pain safe and tolerable.
Typically, we find that the person’s fear of the pain is greater than the actual pain experienced once the person commits to the process. And the relief from more intolerable distress, and increased functioning in life more than compensates for the temporary discomfort.
- Will you send me to the hospital?
- We will only send you to the hospital if we feel you are an immediate serious threat to yourself or to other people. Frequently, people are afraid to discuss suicidal thoughts with a therapist because they are afraid they will be immediately sent to the hospital. Most persons who have such thoughts are not planning or intending on killing themselves, rather find the thoughts frightening or comforting with little risk of carrying them out. If you are having these types of thoughts, it is important to discuss them, and have a good assessment of the actual risk. If we cannot work out a plan for you to be relatively safe, or to keep others around you relatively safe, we may have to help you gain admittance to a hospital to provide basic safety. This tends to be the exception, rather than the norm.
Sometimes, a brief hospital stay is recommended to help a person restabilize on medications, or to start an intensive therapy. In such situations, we may help you find and utilize a hospital, but would not force hospitalization. We currently do not have hospital privileges, so any hospitalization would involve collaboration with other professionals.
- Do you prescribe medications?
- No. We will be happy to work with your psychiatrist or other medical doctor in your treatment. If we feel you have a condition which needs medical assessment, or is likely to benefit from medical intervention, we will make appropriate referrals, and willingly work with the medical practitioner of your choice in planning and providing your treatment.
- Do you provide services over the internet?
- we do offer video-conferencing sessions for persons in Texas (not licensed for services outside of the state). We strongly prefer at least the first session to be in-person, and some types treatment can only be done in-person. If you want distanced sessions, please work out the details with your therapist.