Below are my thoughts and responses to some common questions that people have about therapy. I hope this is helpful and if you have any more questions, feel free to
give me a call.
Isn't therapy for "crazy" people?
To be perfectly honest, "crazy" people rarely if ever go to therapy unless a judge tells them it's the only way they can stay out of jail or the psychiatric hospital. People who have severe challenges to their perception and functioning generally lack the rational thought process to understand the benefits of seeking help with a struggle in their life.
I honestly believe that people who voluntarily initiate their own therapies tend to be, on average, healthier and brighter than the general population. It actually takes a certain amount of self-confidence and self-awareness to be able to realize and accept that life can often be overwhelming, or the very least, extremely confusing. It's the individual with the greater sense of confidence that chooses to reach out and ask for a little help sorting things out.
What exactly happens in therapy?
This is not at all a simple question because people are very different. But there are a few things that you should expect no matter who your therapist is. Most importantly, your therapist should listen to you and understand what is going on in your life. I think that you should be able to sit back and ask yourself, "Does my therapist really 'get it' when I tell them something?" And the answer should be an easy "Yes" most of the time.
A basic assumption in therapy is that you'd like something in your life to be better, whether you measure that by tangible criteria or emotional experience, but something keeps getting in the way. My job is to figure out what the obstacles are and how I can be helpful to you in your efforts to move them out of the way. Sometimes it's not that hard. Sometimes it's very complex, but unless you're aware of what those obstacles are, you'll typically find yourself going through the same patterns and cycles over and over again - usually with the same frustrating results.
In couples therapy, you should expect fairness and objectivity from the therapist. My focus in couples therapy is always on the relationship and the obstacles that are getting in the way of you and your partner. I make every effort to avoid being aligned with or against either party in the sessions.
What is a therapy model?
The "model" of therapy is the framework that the therapist uses to guide the process. Admittedly, I have no idea how many models of therapeutic practice there are available today -- let's just say there are "a lot" of them. But a few that you might have heard about are psychoanalysis, behavior modification, and family therapy (which has many models in and of itself).
What model do I use?
Like many therapists these days, I use a blend of several models of psychotherapy. Essentially, I describe myself as a psychodynamic -- not psychoanalytic -- practitioner. The foundation of psychodynamic therapy is that a person's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors evolve from the current and past events that have had varying levels of impact on that individual. In therapy, I work together with the person to explore what events have shaped their patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to defuse the impact of those past events and open new possible ways of responding to new events.
How long does it take to complete therapy?
The length of therapy really depends on what you're hoping to accomplish. There are times when a person simply wants to resolve a specific symptomatic response to a reoccurring problem and a behavioral solution can sometimes be found in a matter of weeks but this is the exception, not the rule. An exploration of what is really causing those patterns of behavior to reoccur in your life generally takes a matter of months or years. The experience of the therapist can be a factor in the rate of progress, as a more experienced therapist will often know where to look for the answers to the problems that you bring to therapy.
Ugh! Let's talk about money.
Let's face it, money can be the most awkward, uncomfortable subject of all, especially when connected to something as personal as your therapy. I readily confess my apprehension that raising the subject can create the impression that the fees are more important than you and your treatment. Yet the reality is, if we don't deal with the subject, you're left feeling unsure about the process, I wouldn't collect my fees, and I'd have to go get a real job!
How do you pay for fees? And do I take insurance?
So, at the start of each session, most clients simply provide a check or a credit card for processing. Dealing with payment at the beginning of session allows us to focus solely on you and your concerns, without the need to raise the subject at the end of session, when you might well be coping with some difficult thoughts and emotions - talk about awkward.
For Michigan clients:
I am 'on-panel' with BCBS of Michigan, which means that I will be 'in-network' for most of their PPO customers. I am not 'on-panel' with Blue Care Network. If your insurance covers your treatment, I will bill BCBS directly. For non-BCBS customers, many clients receive partial reimbursement at an 'out-of-network' rate from their insurance providers. For those clients, I provide monthly invoices that contain all the information necessary to submit directly to your insurance company. They should then send the reimbursement to you directly.
Are there advantages to paying privately vs. using isurance for therapy?
Yes. The biggest advantage is privacy. When the insurance company pays for treatment, they reserve the right to audit the records. By paying for the treatment privately, it assures the greatest level of confidentiality and assures that no one has access to the record -- short of a court subpoena -- without your permission.
Insurance companies also require a diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. While this is often helpful in communicating and collaborating with other professionals, in unusual circumstances, a diagnosis can create obstacles for some people.
How do I know when I'm done with therapy?
There are a number of ways to know that you're done with therapy. The most tangible way is to realize that the symptoms that brought you into therapy have dissipated or vanished: your mood is significantly better; you're sleeping again; you're more patient with the kids, or the relationship is back on track.
When you feel that you might be coming to the end of therapy, just let me know. The irony of therapy is that ultimately, being successful means we'll say good-bye. It's often the most difficult part of the relationship. But don't worry, you can always call back when things get a little crazy somewhere down the road.
Inattention / Distraction
Grief / Loss
Coping with Narcissism
Guilt / Shame