FAQ

How do I know if I need it?

Our culture has a lot of off-base ideas about counseling and psychotherapy. In the media, some pretty inaccurate ideas are portrayed about this.  Movies, tv shows, etc. show therapy in ways which are most exciting, ways which get ratings, but not usually in ways that are accurate.  Some common myths about counseling and psychotherapy are:

  • It’s for people who are “crazy” or “weird.”
  • If you’re strong enough you’ll figure it out yourself.  “Weak” people go to counseling.
  • They’re going to judge me.
  • Counselors are just nosey.
  • It’s going to involve someone telling me how to live my life.
  • They’ll make me look at inkblots, lay on a couch and talk about my mother.
So what is it, then?

In reality, counseling and psychotherapy helps to deal with problems, increase performance, reach goals, increase self confidence, figure out relationships or all of the above.

  • It provides support during times of increased stress, such as illness of a loved one, changing jobs, relationships ending or beginning or life transitions.
  • It offers a way to gain perspective and insight about your emotions, relationships and all kinds of behaviors.
  • It offers help during times of grief and loss.
  • It helps identify patterns of thinking and feeling which affect relationships, work, school, behavior and performance.
  • It helps identify anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions and helps alleviate the effects them.
  • It provides ways to build healthy relationships.
  • It helps develop communication skills for dealing with conflict.
  • It provides means for self-improvement and maximizing potential.
  • It identifies ways to change things that are not working in your life.
  • It builds motivation to change for those who want to change, but can’t seem to actually do it.
  • It is a means for addressing pain, working through loss and adding meaning to life.
  • It provides a map to trusting yourself, identifying what you want and creating the life you want.
  • Psychotherapy is most effective when people start it on their own and have a strong desire to change.

How does it work?

Counseling and psychotherapy help through the experience of interacting with a trained professional.  It’s the relationship itself that is healing or therapeutic.

Psychotherapy vs. Counseling: What do I need and what’s the difference?

Counseling and Psychotherapy have some similarities and some differences.  Both develop a healing, mutually respectful, therapeutic relationship.  Both create a space where compassion and respect can reach a common goal of improving someone’s life.  Coming to a better understanding of feelings and behaviors in involved in both.

Some differences include the following:

Counseling techniques tends to address specific problems or goals, such as grief, a particularly stressful situation, improving performance or some types of addiction.  It tends to be present-focused and relatively shorter-term, lasting a few to several months. Psychotherapy techniques, on the other hand, addresses the root of issues, explores the effects of past on the present and particular patterns of behavior.  It tends to be longer-term and focuses more widely.

I have extensive training and experience (since 2007) providing both counseling and psychotherapy.  I commonly move seamlessly between both types of techniques during sessions, if that is what is necessary to help.

What am I supposed to talk about?

You really can talk about anything; whatever you’d like.  Many times people will have a specific problem they are trying to resolve, so they talk about that. Sometimes people want to learn about relationships, communication, or want to improve performance in sports, school or work. Other times people are struggling with loss, depression, anxiety or the effects of traumatic experiences.  I’m trained to know what questions to ask, so you don’t need to worry too much about the topics.  I always approach my clients non judgmentally with respect and compassion.  Whatever you want to talk about is going to be ok.  You never have to discuss something you don’t want to. If you’re not sure exactly what your goals are or what you’re looking for, we can discuss it in our first meeting.

How long is this going to take?

The short answer to the question is that it really depends.  The goals and plan of therapy will be made together, and in the end, unless they are infringing on the rights of others, they are completely up to you.  Therefore, the length of time depends a lot on what is needed to achieve your goals.  Usually people come weekly, especially at the beginning of treatment.  The amount of time will be decided when you and I make your treatment plan together, although sometimes insurance plans will put limits on the number of sessions they will cover.

What if I don’t like it? 

If you hate it, we can talk about it and you can stop coming. It is most helpful to talk about it when this happens.  Sometimes people may want to stop coming because they have a pattern of avoiding difficult subjects or maybe it’s something else entirely.  The point is, we will have a relationship built on trust.  You will be able to be honest about how you feel our meetings are going at all times.  It’s always very useful and very welcome to talk about things that you think aren’t working.  Unless you’re mandated into counseling, no one will force you to continue if you do not think it is helpful for you.  It is within your rights to terminate treatment.  I’ll talk to you more about your rights and obligations when we first meet.

How do I start?

Call me at 61-SHINE-009 (617-446-3009) to have a free phone consultation.

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