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Why do people seek therapy?

People seek therapy for many reasons. Therapy can be used to manage or overcome problems, or to increase specific skills or enjoyment in life. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.

What can I expect in a therapy session?

During sessions you are invited to talk about your interests or concerns in your life or relationships. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. You come to therapy as often as you would like, based on your interests, your schedule and your therapist's schedule. Finances often influence how often someone attends therapy. Insurance companies often limit the number of sessions they'll cover. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress want more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed and be willing to experiment with new ideas and practices.

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?

There are many potential benefits from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands and appreciates you and your experiences and interests in life. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the potential benefits from therapy may include:

What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?

You do not have to know what you want to be different in your life or relationships before therapy can begin. Discovering and developing goals for therapy is part of the process of therapy. Sometimes it is helpful to develop specific goals, sometimes it is helpful to broaden goals, and sometimes it is helpful to remain open to discover or rediscover what's important to you before developing specific goals. Therapists are trained to facilitate conversations that can help you access or develop direction in your life and in your therapy and increase the meaningful possibilities available to you.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

There is a confusing array of insurance arrangements. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:


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Ruthanne Iliff, LMFT