It's pretty common (and a pretty good idea!) to have some questions, before beginning work with a new therapist! Some of the more common ones are listed below--if you can't find yours, or need a little more information, feel free to contact any of our clinicians directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does therapy work?
For many of us, the idea of therapy conjures up images of intense, emotional venting; self-focused analytical thinking, or a brilliant "lightbulb" moment that changes everything. While all of these may play a role in therapy--the center of clinical work within my practice is relationship. By creating a safe, supportive connection between therapist and client, we build a relational "laboratory" where it's possible to learn and practice new ways of being, behaving, and engaging with people and situations outside the therapy room. Most of the time, lasting change isn't so much about a one-off moment of unusual insight, as it is a gradual process of practicing long-term strategies for growth and coping.
What, exactly, is a marriage and family therapist?
Marriage and family therapy is a specific mental health discipline, in the same way as social work, professional counseling, and psychology. What makes marriage and family therapy unique is two-fold: first, marriage and family therapy, as a field, maintains a balance between internal or individual work; and relational work. Whether you see a marriage and family therapist as an individual, or as a couple, family, or other group; you get the benefit of working with someone who is deeply aware of the impact your relationships, both past and present, have on your life. A second important distinction is that marriage and family therapists receive mandatory training in relational therapy, as well as individual work--all marriage and family therapists have extensive experience conducting therapy sessions that include parents working with children, relationship partners working with one another, or other relational and familial configurations.
I don't have insurance!
How much does therapy at Choosing Wholeness cost?
Each of the clinicians in our office sets their own fees, so it's a good idea to speak with the specific clinician you want to work with--and it's always okay to ask whether we can offer a more flexible payment arrangement, or schedule with a therapy intern for lower-cost or no-cost therapy. Even if we can't find a solution that works for you, we may be able to help you find someone who can.
I have health coverage that includes mental healthcare!
Can you accept it?
Each of the clinicians in our office works in-network with the insurers who best serve the needs of their client base. These vary somewhat between therapists, so it's best to check with your clinician, in advance. If we are out-of-network, we're happy to assist you in filing for reimbursement with them on your own behalf. We also work with many clients on a self-pay basis. This can actually offer several advantages--for example, many insurance plans require a specific mental health diagnosis very early in treatment, or refuse to cover therapy sessions that specifically emphasize couple and family issues; and have very rigid limits around session duration, frequency, and number of sessions covered. When you self-pay, it allows us to work together to determine what kind of treatment works best for you. It also means, in the event that a mental health diagnosis does seem indicated, that we have more time and freedom to consider your symptoms and treatment needs, and to re-evaluate these as your experience unfolds in and outside the therapy room.
I'd like to schedule an appointment. How do I do that?
We schedule appointments by way of both email and telephone--please be mindful, that while we safeguard the confidentiality of digital communications to the best of my ability, we are unable to protect communication as it is created, sent, and received at your computer. Employer- and school-issued email addresses are unlikely to be secure or private. To make an appointment with one of our clinicians, you can email or call them, at the contact information listed at the bottom of the screen, or on our Location page.
How long does therapy take? How often will we meet?
Our experience has been that therapy is the most effective and efficient when we meet with clients once each week. Longer gaps between sessions tend to limit the sense of continuity, and create sessions that are more about short-term problem-solving or crisis management, than they are about lasting change.
The duration of therapy depends on a number of factors. For some clients, therapy is a relatively short-term endeavor, where they invest a few months in sorting through a very specific problem. Others find that therapy is an important element in their long-term care, and that continuing treatment allows them to maintain their mental health and emotional well-being at a level that amply justifies the time and energy they invest.
Most clients fall somewhere in between. Difficulties that have persisted for months or years do take time to resolve--after all, if it were a quick and easy fix, therapy probably wouldn't be necessary! With consistent care and collaborative work, however, most clinical issues can be resolved in stable and sustainable ways.
What will we do in therapy?
With all clients, we will spend the first few sessions learning about you, your story, and your goals in therapy. In work with adults and adolescents, we are likely to spend some time talking; we will also spend time learning and practicing the skills and strategies that you'll carry with you into everyday life. Clinicians at Choosing Wholeness use creative techniques in therapy--these might include drawing, painting, collage, or other media that you especially enjoy. Having an experience can often facilitate more change than only talking about an experience--for that reason, we may also employ age-appropriate play therapy techniques with children, adolescents, and adults. Mindfulness and self-compassion are also an important part of the care we offer. Most of us connect and communicate in far more ways than the spoken word, so our clinicians are committed to openness and flexibility, in finding the most useful ways for to interact in the therapy room.