What To Expect

Therapy begins with an assessment which gathers information about the problems and circumstances you are experiencing and your history. In order to gain a full understanding of clients, I use several means of gathering information. You will be asked to complete a basic background information form and to meet with me for an information-gathering interview. In addition, other questionnaires and self-report measures may be employed, depending upon your particular circumstances. I will collect and review all this information in order to make certain I have a full and clear understanding of you and your situation.

This assessment or diagnostic phase usually takes a couple of sessions. Included in this initial phase is a mutually derived set of treatment needs and goals. It is important that goals have some form of measurable outcomes, and this is discussed in the goal-setting process. From time to time it is important to review the progress of your goals, and to make adjustments in focus and timeframes. A second aspect of this initial assessment stage is for you to determine that you feel comfortable enough to work with me and feel that I may be helpful to you. Maybe, above all else, a positive relationship between the therapist and the client is a fundamental component of growth and successful outcomes.

In the assessment phase you will also be asked to read and sign a brochure that provides you with legal, ethical and clinical rights and obligations related to psychotherapy and a form that authorizes you to be in treatment with me, and allows me to contact and bill your insurance provider if applicable. The assessment phase also includes the clarification of fees and payments, including your co-pay responsibilities and any billing arrangements provided.

The potentials gains in psychotherapy include: your overall mood may improve, allowing you to feel more hopeful, energetic, relaxed and better about yourself; being more comfortable and effective communicating feelings and thoughts; improved relationships; better management of stress in your life; a greater understanding of yourself and the relationship between perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors; decreasing or stopping unwanted or destructive behavior patterns; and adopting more positive behaviors.

Like any healthcare services, there are also potential risks associated with psychotherapy. They include: not experiencing improvement – in which case you and I will decide to change the focus or course of treatment, add an alternative source of treatment or discontinue treatment.

Sometimes, in the beginning of treatment, you might experience an increase in some symptoms, as very important emotional issues and problems surface. This is usually temporary and improves as you begin to address options and solutions. It is the natural process of problems having to first be identified and understood, before they can be addressed. You may also find that other important people in your life feel discomforted by changes you make. This is natural and is helped by effective communicating and stronger self-acceptance.

The length of treatment varies considerably, and is based upon your situation and needs. It is important to meet at least once weekly during the early phase of psychotherapy to allow the relationship to be established and allow you to develop comfort with me.