WHY DO PEOPLE GO TO THERAPY?
There are tons of reasons why a person might be motivated to seek therapy. Some people find themselves struggling emotionally with things like depression, anxiety, or grief, or having difficulty managing feelings around a past trauma, a difficult relationship, or feelings towards themselves. Others may be struggling to stop engaging in certain behaviors, like addiction and substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, or unhealthy eating and exercise habits. Things can be tough when you’re going through a life change or transition (such as graduating from college and starting a full-time job, getting fired, divorce, a breakup, moving to a new city, having a child). Therapy can provide support, encouragement, and skills for navigating and adjusting to these life changes. Some people are looking for help with goal-setting and organizational skills, communicating better in their relationships, or finding a rewarding career path or romantic relationship. Others are looking for ways to enhance the positive things they’re already doing in life or to continue increasing self-awareness. No matter the particular reasons, people who seek therapy are ready to take on challenges in their lives and commit towards change and growth.
HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER I NEED THERAPY?
In our society, there’s a bit of a stigma around mental healthcare and there is a misconception that seeking treatment means you’re too “weak” to manage life on your own. This is untrue and a very harmful belief to buy into. Therapy isn’t about whether or not you can “handle” your problems. It’s possible that you’ve successfully worked through challenges in your life without the help of a therapist in the past, and it’s also possible that the same patterns or issues keep popping up and you’d benefit from looking at them more deeply, with the support of a professional. It’s not a sign of “weakness” or of “not being able to handle it on your own” if you seek therapy. In fact, it takes a certain degree of self-awareness to be able to accept help with navigating the complexities of life. We believe that anyone could benefit tremendously from therapy, whether they’re struggling or not, just as anyone could benefit from getting a regular physical exam. Whether you’re just looking for a “check up” or wanting some longer-term work towards your goals, therapy can provide lasting benefits that affect your behavioral, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health and wellbeing.
During our first meeting, or over the phone before you make an appointment, we are happy to work with you to answer any questions you might have about the process, and to help you decide if it’s right for you.
HOW CAN THERAPY HELP ME?
Essentially, psychologists and therapists treat mental health, just like physicians and specialists treat different aspects of your physical health. When you break a bone or get an infection, you go to a physician to help you get treatment and heal more effectively. Similarly, therapists provide treatment and support for psychological and emotional “hurts.” We teach helpful ways to cope with stress, pain, and challenges, and help you practice strategies to keep yourself strong and healthy. While we can’t change certain situations or circumstances you might be facing, we can help you to live your best life, and see relief from conditions like depression, anxiety, addictions, body image problems, eating disorders, grief and loss, stress management, job dissatisfaction, relationship problems, family dysfunction, anger and impulse-control issues, post-traumatic stress, and tons of other difficulties we human beings face in our lives.
There is significant research showing how psychological health and physical health are strongly related, so staying on top of your psychological wellbeing (just like staying on top of your medical care) can improve your overall quality of life. Some people use their therapy sessions to “vent” or to get a fresh perspective, while others like to be challenged and given “tools” to take away and use in daily life. Therapy is one of those things in life that “works if you work it.” That is, you get in what you put out. If you are actively engaged and motivated to apply what you learn, you will find it can enhance your life in a very meaningful way.
Some of the clear outcomes of therapy include:
· Developing skills for solving problems and improving your relationships, including more effective communication skills
· Feeling more self-confident and becoming more compassionate towards yourself and others
· Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
· Becoming more equipped to manage and regulate your mood (anger, grief, depression, mood swings, irritability)
· Improving your social life, intimate partner relations, and family relationships
· Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
· Gaining self-awareness and a better understanding of your values
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE CHANGE?
At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, the truth is that it’s different for everyone. Our goal is to help you experience change as soon as possible, even as early as the first session. However, it depends on a variety of factors, such as how long you’ve been struggling with certain behaviors or symptoms, how motivated you are to change, how open you are to trying new and sometimes difficult things, and how quickly the therapist and client are able to develop a rapport (a collaborative “team” relationship with one another). Sometimes, if you’re trying to change a lifelong habit, it can take several months to start seeing change because the habit might be really deeply ingrained in you. Other times, even if you’ve been engaging in a habit for many years, it can be changed rather quickly. Things like unexpected life stressors can pop up and interrupt progress or take priority over whatever we had originally been addressing, too, which may mean shifting course and then returning to the original plan at a later time. If you’re dealing with trauma or grieving for a loss, the change may be slower than you’d like it to be, since healing often involves feeling an increase in pain and discomfort before experiencing any decreases. It also depends on the frequency of our sessions. We typically start with once-weekly sessions, and scale down (meet less frequently) as treatment progresses and you start to see change. We occasionally will increase frequency to twice per week for a brief period of time if you need more support than once-weekly sessions can provide. Decisions about how frequently to meet are made by the client and therapist together, as a team. If you find yourself getting impatient with the process of change in therapy, please tell your therapist so that we can work together with you to figure it out.
WHAT DO WE DO DURING THERAPY SESSIONS?
It depends on the goals for treatment and on the therapist’s approach or style. Sometimes, it will involve talking about symptoms and exploring various topics through asking certain types of questions. There will always be a component of “psycho-education,” where the therapist teaches you about symptoms, emotions, neurology, and strategies or skills for handling things differently. There may be discussion of your past and family dynamics or other relationship dynamics. You may receive worksheets, handouts, or book recommendations to explore between sessions. Sometimes, the therapist will give you a directive or an “assignment” to try between sessions, to help you put into practice what’s being discussed. Your therapist might guide you through certain exercises to help you learn to relax in the face of panic, or learn to tolerate discomfort more effectively. When we decide what to bring into our sessions, we use our clinical judgment, training, education, and familiarity with what’s been helpful for others who have had similar problems. However, even though there is plenty of data on what “works” and what doesn’t, your unique needs are always most important for us to consider. If you have a preference for the types of exercises and activities we do in session, if there’s something you do or don’t want to do, or if you find that you’re responding better to one intervention than others, this is always helpful feedback to give to your therapist so that we can make sure you’re getting the most out of our work.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONSULTATION AND A SESSION?
Before we can begin treatment, it is important for us to get some more information about what you’re experiencing and give you the chance to tell us more about yourself, explain what you’re looking for, and ask us any questions you might have to help you decide if you want to move forward to work together. This is typically done during the first session, which is called an Intake session. The therapist will ask some questions about your background, or just have an open conversation with you about what’s bringing you in. They may take some notes in this first meeting. Some of us will offer a longer intake session (60-75 minutes), while the “regular” therapy sessions last for 50 minutes.
A consultation is a conversation where we mutually decide if we are a good fit to work together as therapist and client. We offer brief phone consultations (no more than 10-15 minutes) and in-person consultations (lasting approximately 45-60 minutes, which will be billed as an “intake” session). Many people ask for a brief phone consultation before deciding whether to make an appointment, and we are happy to provide this free of charge if you’re interested. However, it is not necessary to talk on the phone before coming in unless you want to do so. If you’d prefer to just set up an appointment and then tell us your story in-person (with more in-depth detail and the chance for us to ask and answer questions), you may simply set up an intake and go from there. You can set up appointments by emailing any of the individual therapists on our Staff Page, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling any of us, or by using our online scheduling feature here.
WHAT IF I’M NOT GETTING WHAT I WANTED OUT OF OUR SESSIONS?
At Interaction Dynamics, our first and only priority is that our treatment is helpful to you. While we encourage our clients to be patient with the process and give it a try for a few sessions before deciding whether it’s “working,” we also understand that treatment is personal and it is not “once size fits all.” We work hard to tailor our approaches to meet the needs of the individual in the room, but we also each work with our own unique style, and that style may not be for you. If you come in for an intake session and are unsure whether you want to continue, please voice your concerns to your therapist. We can’t read minds, so we need you to tell us if something isn’t working or isn’t helpful! Please don’t worry about hurting our feelings if you don’t think your therapist is right for you. If you tell us what you’re looking for, we can help you find another therapist who is a better match for you. We have several therapists in our practice at Interaction Dynamics, but we also have a wonderful community of therapists in the neighborhood and would be happy to put you in touch with any of them who could better provide what you’re seeking.
HOW MUCH DOES A SESSION COST AT INTERACTION DYNAMICS?
Our regular out-of-pocket rates are as follows:
· Intake session - $175.00
· 50-minute psychotherapy session - $150.00
· 75-minute psychotherapy session - $200.00
· 30-minute add-on or crisis intervention session - $100.00
· Psychological testing - $150.00 per hour (including time spent testing, scoring tests, interpreting test data, and writing the report)
Please note that these are our out-of-pocket rates. Your insurance plan may reimburse us at a different rate than the one listed above. To learn more about using your insurance, please click here. If you choose to self-pay rather than using insurance, you will be responsible for payment at the above prices. We accept cash, check, credit or debit card, and HSA/FSA accounts. We also are flexible in working with you on payment plans that suit your financial needs, such as charging once per month instead of every week, or charging half of your payment on one card and the other half on a different card. We also offer a sliding scale payment option for individuals whose financial situations deem them unable to pay our regular rates. These sliding scale agreements are determined on a case-by-case basis. If you believe your situation necessitates a lower price than our regular rate, please discuss it with your therapist before or during your first appointment.
DO YOU TAKE MY INSURANCE PLAN?
We are in-network for several major insurance plans, including Blue Cross/ Blue Shield PPO, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare. We can bill Blue Cross/ Blue Shield PPO plans regardless of what state your plan is in. We bill these companies directly, and each plan has its own “contracted rate,” which may not be the same as our standard rate. We do not accept HMO plans or Medicare/ Medicaid plans. We are happy to bill plans for which we are out-of-network (for example, Magellan) to assist you in obtaining any out-of-network benefits or reimbursement.
For more information on using you insurance plan, click here.
DOES WHAT WE TALK ABOUT IN THERAPY REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL?
At your first appointment, we will provide you with our confidentiality agreement and give you a chance to ask any questions about this policy. For the most part, you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. We will always be clear about the exceptions to this rule. The major exception to this rule is about safety. We are required both ethically and legally to break confidentiality in the following situations:
· If we have reason to suspect the client is in danger of harming him/herself or harming another person.
· If we have reason to suspect past or present abuse or neglect of children, vulnerable adults, or elders.
If the client is a minor (under age 18), it is required for us to obtain the consent of a legal guardian before starting treatment. However, we believe it is important to respect the autonomy of the client, and our policy is to obtain agreement as early as possible between the minor and the legal guardian regarding what could be shared with the guardian. If you are seeking treatment for someone who is under age 18, we will begin with an open dialogue to establish “ground rules” for treatment to ensure the client feels safe, supported, and respected.
If you are using insurance to help cover the cost of sessions, we are required to provide the insurance company with certain information about your diagnosis and/or treatment plan. We never provide more than the bare minimum necessary to obtain reimbursement, and we never share details regarding the content of our sessions. We also may consult with colleagues on occasion, in order to ensure we are providing you with the best possible quality of care, but we NEVER share any details or identifying information about you. If you ever have questions about confidentiality, please feel free to discuss them with your therapist.