Nothing ever goes away until it teaches
us what we need to know
-Pema Chodron

Individual Therapy

Many consider therapy quite often.  Usually something in our lives like a break-up, an argument, a work issue or a death in the family may prompt one to want to call and make an appointment with a therapist.  Unfortunately, not everyone completes that process.  Some will talk themselves out of calling saying, "ah I'm really ok" or "I don’t have time on a weekly basis for one more thing" or even "what does the therapist know that I don't already know...I know what I need to do."  Others will show up to their first appointment so overwhelmed at the trauma at hand and will cry, maybe sob even, and then apologize over and over as if it is a shameful thing to feel.  We all have a ton of excuses why not to go but most who do get over the stress of coming to their first appointment realize therapy can be an incredible, sometimes life-changing event.

Therapy is the opportunity to clear one hour of space every week to pay attention to what's going on in your life.  And though you may be convinced that you know what you need to fix, when do you actually take the time to examine your process and take action to make those changes?  It is understandable that therapy may seem odd at first; sharing intimate information to a "stranger" but think about the possibilities...this person can help process your thoughts, emotions, feelings and goals in a way that no one else can.  Of course, a therapist is not supposed to give you advice.  They don't walk in your shoes everyday but they are trained to ask thought-provoking questions, sit with you in the darkest of moments, and support you through overwhelming challenges.  Many find after a very short while they look forward to coming because they realize they're finally taking action to create the life they always wanted and begin to put their dreams in motion.

Often, people enter counseling with undefined concerns -- just a sense that things aren't quite right.  This is a perfectly acceptable reason to enter therapy; discussing this with a therapist can give you clarity.  It doesn't always require a huge traumatic event to start therapy.  Many come to brainstorm, get constructive feedback or just to feel supported as they attempt to figure out what changes they want to make.

Just make sure the therapist is a good fit.  As a psychologist, I am aware that I am not the perfect fit for everyone (as most of us in this field understand).  I invite my clients at the outset of therapy to tell me if they would like to try others to make sure they get the right therapist.  I am a true believer that you cannot do good work unless you feel completely at ease with your therapist.

Many are unsure what the differences are between all the provider titles.  I will attempt to explain that here:

Psychiatrists - are M.D.'s who went to medical school with a specialty in psychiatric medicine.  They typically see people every four to six weeks depending on personal needs of the client and their appointments typically consist of some kind of assessment and prescription of medication like going to your regular general physician except to discuss more of your emotional needs and issues.

Psychologists – either hold a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. and if they are licensed their business cards and other marketing materials show a license number and look like PSY#00000.  Psychologists are licensed by the Board of Psychology.  They can usually take insurance whether in-network or out-of-network depending on which insurance companies they are contracted with.  Psychologists provide counseling and psychotherapy. They work with people who have life adjustment problems, and also with those who have emotional disorders or mental illness. They provide treatment for people of all ages, to individuals, couples, families and groups. Psychologists provide treatment for anxiety, depression, phobias, panic disorders, eating disorders, stress related problems, PTSD, trauma, relationship problems, and severe mental disorders. Their appointments are typically on a weekly basis as needed sometimes more than once a week and usually each appointment is anywhere between twenty minutes and ninety minutes depending on necessity.  Psychologists can do assessments and evaluations including psychological testing for adults and children, career testing and many types of evaluations if the psychologist has had prior training or experience with the testing, assessment or evaluation.

Marriage and Family Therapists – either hold a M.A. or M.S. and are licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. They have also completed at least 2 years of clinical experience in some kind of internship. Their license numbers should always be readily displayed on their business cards or other marketing materials and usually look like L.M.F.T. or LMFT #00000.  They can usually take insurance whether in-network or out-of-network depending on which insurance companies they are contracted with.  Marriage and Family Therapists see people of all ages including individuals, families, couples and children and help with a multitude of relationship issues.  Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat a wide range of major clinical problems including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, marital problems, individual psychological problems, and parent-child problems, trauma and PTSD. Their appointments are typically on a weekly basis as needed sometimes more than once a week and usually each appointment is anywhere between twenty minutes and ninety minutes depending on necessity.

Clinical Social Workers – hold a M.S.W. degree and are licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences Their license numbers should always be readily displayed on their business cards or other marketing materials and usually look like L.C.S.W. or LCSW #00000.  Clinical Social Workers in private practice, for the most part, operate the same as a marriage and family therapist.  They can usually take insurance whether in-network or out-of-network depending on which insurance companies they are contracted with and they see people of all ages including individuals, families, couples and children and help with a multitude of relationship issues.  Clinical Social Workers can also diagnose and treat a wide range of major clinical problems including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, marital problems, individual psychological problems, and parent-child problems, substance abuse issues, trauma and PTSD. Their appointments are typically on a weekly basis as needed sometimes more than once a week and usually each appointment is anywhere between twenty minutes and ninety minutes depending on necessity.

Marriage and Family Therapy Interns – hold either an M.A. or M.S. but are not licensed yet.  They are registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences and are supervised by a licensed marriage and family therapists that have held a license for more than 2 years and who have had training in supervising interns.    They almost never can take insurance whether in-network or out-of-network but because they are obtaining supervised hours of experience they offer therapy at a much lower rate.  Like licensed individuals, Marriage and Family Therapist Interns see people of all ages including individuals, families, couples and children and help with a multitude of relationship issues.  Marriage and family therapist interns also diagnose and treat a wide range of major clinical problems including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, marital problems, individual psychological problems, and parent-child problems, trauma and PTSD with the help of their supervisors. Their appointments are typically on a weekly basis as needed sometimes more than once a week and usually each appointment is anywhere between twenty minutes and ninety minutes depending on necessity.