I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Why do I need to see a therapist?

You may not need to see a therapist, but it may help to alleviate some of the burden you feel. Everyone can benefit help now and then, and it actually takes strength and courage to be able to ask for it, especially when things don’t seem dire.

Chances are, you’ve been successful at handling things on your own in the past, but perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to be as effective as you want to be. In our work together, I’ll help you access resources both within you and around you to help you feel better.

What’s the difference between talking to you or to my best friend or family?

Ideally, you’ll be able to do both! Support networks like friends, families and communities are some of the best “external resources” we have and they are so important when working on making changes in your life.

It’s important to note that trained therapists and counselors take a different approach than your friends and family will. Therapists can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about how talking about your situation with one person affects your relationships with others.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

Medication can certainly be helpful, but it often doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Our work together is an opportunity to explore and even learn from the problems in order to get to the root of what’s troublesome. Sometimes that requires an in-depth look at your past experiences and how they have shaped you. Medication can help make this process easier, but it won’t go beyond the surface.

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

The short answer is that therapy works by showing up each week and telling the truth. It may sound simple, and it is, but that does not mean it is easy. Telling the truth can be hard, for fear of shame or even simply because you do not know what the truth is!

Think about therapy as an exploration of an unknown space. It may feel exciting or frightening or a bit of both, but I am beside you, holding the flashlight, supporting you in getting curious about what’s there. Whether you are seeking a deeper understanding of yourself and why you react the way you do, or if you’re looking for relief from symptoms of anxiety, the therapeutic process acts as a container; it is a both a recepticle and a vehicle that moves along and tracks your experiences.

How long will it take?

This is a very common question. I tell people that going to therapy is more like going to the gym than getting a massage. One workout may help you feel accomplished or perhaps, really out of shape! But hitting the gym week after week will inevitably help you identify the places you need to improve, and the momentum you build will support you in returning time after time. Once you hit your goals, you may decrease or change the way you work out, and similarly, in therapy, once you begin to see the changes, you may choose to change directions, decrease sessions or stop therapy altogether. This is ultimately your decision, and my job is to help you get all the information you need to make decisions in support of your happiness and well-being.

I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

If you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions, being on time, being present, and participating fully is the most important thing you can do.  Allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest, even when it’s scary. Say the things you don’t want to say, and celebrate your successes. Therapy sessions are like a labratory, and the more practice you get in session, the more you can take it out into the world.