Frequently Asked Questions

What is therapy?


Therapy is simply a process that helps you figure out to clean up the mess in your life. Therapists work with clients to come up and put into place strategies to change unhealthy patterns in thinking, emotions, behaviors, and relationships and to live happier and healthier lives. The beauty of therapy is that you have an individual, your therapist, who is solely invested in you and your emotionally being...there is no better feeling than that.




How does therapy help?


People use therapy for many reasons including to change unhealthy behaviors, to better understand their emotions and actions, to address past trauma, or to help with accomplishing a goal. Whatever the reason, I truly believe that therapy works! Making therapy work for you: 3 TIPS you need to know before you schedule your first appointment:

  • Have a goal in mind: Your therapy goal may be a little fuzzy at first, don’t worry too much about that. Your therapist will work with you to help you define your treatment goals. Keep in mind that it will be hard to know if therapy is working or if you are meeting your therapy goals if these goals are not clearly defined as therapy starts. But don’t worry too much, it’s our job to help you with that.
  • Trust the therapist: We know that talking to a stranger about your concerns is VERY scary!! Be reassured that we are trained professionals and we understand how intimidating those early sessions can be. We will structure sessions to make these early sessions go a little easier for you. Plus, we are all required to keep your identity and what you share with us private. So if we break your trust by disclosing information about you (when you have not given permission), we could lose our license to practice. Trust is a big deal in therapy, and our goal as therapists is to ensure that you feel that trust with us very early on.
  • Do homework outside of sessions: Guess what? Therapy does not end when you leave your therapist’s office! Sorry to tell you that. In order to make the changes you want in life, you have to be ready to take what you have learned in the session and apply it to your real life. That’s facts! We will also ask you to reflect on how completing the homework exercises impacted you. Homework is necessary to help you make progress on your goals.




Should I meet with more than one therapist to help me make a decision about which therapist to choose?


Having a conversation with a therapist ahead of time is a great way to find out how they practice and it gives you information about whether they are a good fit for you. Some therapists offer phone consultations, while others may have you visit their office for the consultation. Now that most therapists have some experience with virtual platforms, they may also offer a virtual consult.
If you choose to meet with more than one therapist, be sure to check with your insurance company to make sure that they will cover this cost. Also-- REALLY IMPORTANT, do NOT schedule appointments with multiple therapists on the same day. It is very likely that your health insurance provider will not cover multiple sessions conducted on the same day. As a courtesy, we recommend that you let the therapists know that you are meeting with a few therapists before you make a decision. As therapists, we will not be offended by this. We are invested in making sure that therapy is a good fit between the client and the therapist. (Yes, it’s a little like dating to find the right fit.) So if it is not working, speak up and let your therapist know what is not working for you. Give them a chance to adjust. However, if the relationship is truly not working, then you are going to have to break up with your therapist (see # 9 below).




What questions should I ask the therapist during the consultation call?


  • Do you take my health insurance _______________?
  • What are the fees/costs for each session? Are there different prices for different services?
  • If paying out of pocket (i.e., not using insurance), you can ask if they offer a sliding scale. A sliding scale provides discounted rates for services usually based on income.
  • What is your therapy style? Are you active in session or more quiet? Do you give your clients homework?
  • What is your experience working with people who have ________ (name the particular issue(s) that you want to address in therapy)?
  • Have you worked with people from ____________ (state the cultural background(s) that is important to you? OR Can you talk about your experience working with people from different racial/ethnic minority groups?
  • How do you help clients accomplish their goals?




What should I talk about in therapy?


This is a very popular question. Worries about what to talk about in session can sometimes hold people back from scheduling that first appointment with a therapist. It can feel scary to share all your thoughts and feelings with a complete stranger. We get it. It’s our job to make you feel comfortable and to give you guidance on what to share. Therapists are trained differently and how we structure our sessions will look different. However, most therapists will start the initial session with an Intake session which involves collecting information about your past history and your current life. This information helps us to get to know you and will then be used to develop a treatment plan which guides our work in therapy. Some therapists talk very little, while others may be more active in session. Some therapists are hands-on and may teach interventions during sessions, while others rely on the material you bring to the session for discussion. There are also therapists who focus on the past and how it impacts your current functioning, while others focus on the present. Figuring out what style works for you will help the process of therapy flow more smoothly.




What happens during the first session with the therapist?


Every therapist practices differently, so this is a good question to ask during a consultation or an intake appointment with the therapist. However, in general, the first session is reserved for explaining the therapy approach, signing paperwork, obtaining background information about you and getting a better understanding of what brought you to therapy.




How do I get ready for my first session?


  • If you are using health insurance, bring your insurance card and your preferred payment method (e.g., cash, check, credit card). Be sure to ask the forms of payment they accept.
  • Write down 1 or 2 goals that you hope to accomplish during treatment and bring those to the session.
  • Be prepared to provide a background information about yourself including your family history, medical history, support system, how you deal with stress and what is bringing you to therapy.
  • You will sign paperwork (i.e., client therapist agreement or informed consent form), privacy notice, and any other paperwork that the therapist requires.
  • You may also be asked to complete screening tests (e., for anxiety, depression, etc) to gain a baseline level of your symptoms.




What happens between sessions?


It depends on the therapist’s therapeutic approach and training. Some therapists give homework exercises between sessions such as tracking behaviors, journaling, or practicing strategies that were taught during the session. To get the most benefit from your sessions, doing your homework is key!




What if I am not connecting with my therapist, does it mean that therapy does not work?


Great question! Therapy is very personal...like any other relationship in your life, it can get complicated. So if you do not feel connected with the therapist, it may mean that the relationship with that particular therapist is no longer a good fit. I encourage you to talk to the therapist about how you are feeling, so that they can adjust how they are practicing. However, if it continues to be a challenge, then it may be time to start your search again.




How do I break up with my therapist?


Breaking up with anyone is hard to do. It can feel even more challenging because your therapist knows so much about you. However, honesty is the best way to go-- we, therapists, can handle it. Some therapists may feel disappointed knowing that you are leaving before you reach your goals, but that is for the therapist to work through. (Not your problem!!). I feel strongly that if therapy is not working and your therapist is unable to make the changes that will support you, then it is time to move on...no hard feelings! Do a self-check and ask, am I running away because this therapy life is getting uncomfortable or is it connected to the relationship dynamics. Your therapist may also try to schedule a termination (or final) session with you. During this last session, we usually talk about the successes you have made and the areas that you can continue to address in a therapeutic setting. Some therapists may also help you find another therapist in your area or you can check out www.innopsych.com/findatherapist. Remember that just because that relationship did not work out does NOT mean that therapy does not work.




Disclaimer


DISCLAIMER: This site is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and the usage and/or resources gained from this site, does not constitute a therapist-client relationship with the User. InnoPsych, Inc. is not responsible for the licensing, verification, quality and contact of services that the listed therapists provide--- Users should do their own due diligence to ensure therapists are licensed and in good standing with their licensing boards.





FAQPage

10 FAQs for People

New to Therapy

Your journey to wellness may be scary or intimidating. No need to worry! We have compiled 10 Frequently Asked Questions below to help you work through some of the uncertainty you may have about finding a therapist that's right for you. 

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