Can therapy really help me, if so, how?
The truth about therapy is that it really works. Scientific studies consistently show that behavioral and emotional interventions work as well, if not better, than medication to treat anxiety, depression, and mental health issues like OCD. Therapy that teaches you skills, like CBT, will leave you with long-term, healthy coping strategies that you can use when issues pop up.
Is therapy right for me and why do people go to therapy?
Therapy is so much more than sitting on a couch. Misconceptions abound about what it means to talk to a mental health professional. The need to talk about your emotions is seen as something to poke fun at, weak or shameful. That stigma is often why people don’t seek help in the first place. But here’s the reality: Therapy is an incredibly useful tool that helps with a range of issues, from anxiety to sleep to relationships to trauma. Research shows that it’s incredibly effective in helping people manage mental health conditions and experts say that it’s worth it even if you don’t have a medical problem.
If you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should give the practice a try:
- You’re experiencing unexpected mood swings.
- You’re undergoing a big change.
- You’re having harmful thoughts.
- You’re withdrawing from things that used to bring you joy.
- You’re feeling isolated or alone.
- You’re using a substance to cope with issues in your life.
- You suspect you might have a serious mental health condition.
- You feel like you’ve lost control.
- Your relationships feel strained.
- Your sleeping patterns are off.
- You just feel like you need to talk to someone.
What is therapy like?
Therapy is a team effort. If you don’t take an active part in the session, you won’t find the counseling experience valuable. Here are some things you can do to make your first session as successful as possible.
Don’t just sit there
Be open. Therapists are trained to ask the right questions, but they’re not mind readers. The therapist can do his/her job more effectively if you answer the questions openly and honestly.
Be prepared. Before you get to the session, know how to describe “what’s wrong,” and to describe your feelings about your problem. One way to prepare is to write down the reasons you’re seeking help. Make a list and then read it out loud. Hearing yourself say it a few times will help you describe things more clearly to the therapist.
Ask questions. The more you understand the counseling experience or how counseling works, the more comfortable you’ll be. Ask questions about the therapy process, and ask the therapist to repeat anything you don’t understand.
Be open and honest about your feelings. A lot will be going through your head in this first session. Listen to your own reactions and feelings, and share them with the therapist. You’ll both learn from these insights.
Be sure to go to your first session with realistic expectations. Therapy is not a quick fix for your problem, rather it is a process. With some effort on your part and a strong relationship with your therapist, it can be a successful tool toward resolving problems.
What should I expect in my first therapy session?
Read our “What to Expect” section
How many sessions needed to handle my problems?
A national research study found that 50 percent of psychotherapy clients had made improvement within eight sessions of therapy, and 75 percent showed improvement after six months of therapy. Of course, showing improvement is not the same as successfully completing treatment. Most psychologists will tell you that the length of treatment depends upon the nature of the problem, the severity of the problem, and the treatment goals selected.
A vague response like this can be frustrating, but rest assured that most individuals complete psychological treatment within three to six months. When psychologists say that the nature of the problem affects the length of treatment, what they mean is the kind of problem being treated.
Can I use my health insurance, and how does that work?
Yes, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna. If your insurance provider is not on this list, you can still see one of our therapist. However, you will have to pay for the session up front ($175), and we will provide you a form to fill out to get reimburse by your insurance company. They typically reimburse up to 60%.
What is a deductible, do I have one?
In an insurance policy, the deductible is the amount paid out of pocket by the policy holder before an insurance provider will pay any expenses. In general usage, the term deductible may be used to describe one of several types of clauses that are used by insurance companies as a threshold for policy payments.
Please contact your insurance company to find out what your deductible is before setting up your appointment.
How confidential are the issues we discuss during my therapy sessions?
ALL sessions and information collected are confidential. We do not share any of your information or discussion with anyone without your permission. In the event of a court order, we may have to relinquish certain information. In some cases, we will fight to defend your right.
What if I want to do therapy and my spouse does not?
Couples counseling can work wonders in a relationship, helping each partner to see the other’s perspective and empowering a couple to adopt love-affirming habits that meet one another’s needs. Relationship experts and therapists may recommend couples counseling for a broad variety of issues ranging from financial problems to infidelity, and some people view couples counseling as the panacea that will cure an ailing marriage.
If your spouse won’t go to marriage counseling, you might feel betrayed or unwanted, but pushing your spouse into counseling against his or her will can be just as damaging as the problems that led you to therapy in the first place. Instead, it’s best to try to work through the resistance as a couple and, if all else fails, try going by yourself.
Will my therapist choose sides?
Many people fear that a therapist will side with their partner. They worry that this will be just another place where they will be criticized or blamed for problems. However, a good therapist remains impartial. We, at Atlanta Couple Therapy creates a level of safety in the counseling room for both partners to freely express their thoughts, opinions and feelings.