Below are some common questions people have about therapy:
Good question, especially if you're someone who has historically been the one to solve your own and even others' problems. When you talk to a therapist, you get an objective perspective about what you're experiencing that is very difficult to get from anyone else in your life (because it's hard for friends and family to be objective). When we get stuck, we tend to ruminate (repetitive and non-constructive thinking), which can keep us in a cycle of stuckness. When we're experiencing prolonged negative emotions, we can lose our ability to think creatively and instead tend to rely on a limited range of options based out of fear.
Length of therapy depends on who you are and what you're experiencing. After you meet with a therapist, you should be given a sense of how long you will need therapy, and the signs and symptoms that will tell you you're ready for discharge. Because you are the client, you should always remember that you have the ultimate power to stop therapy at any time. Consult with your therapist about this.
If you are an adult, most topics are held in confidence, however there are some legal limitations: If I believe you're at imminent risk of hurting yourself or hurting someone else then I will need to break confidentiality to ensure your, or an identified others,' safety. Other limits to confidentiality include being requested to provide therapy documents by the court, or if you experience a medical health emergency during session and I need to call emergency services to get you medical attention.
If you are the parent of a tween or teen, then you have a legal right to know what is shared in session. I will encourage you to consider requesting information as the more I share with parents, the less safe the teen will be willing to share things with me. My strong suggestion is to let therapy stay between the therapist and your child. Now the big caveat is if any safety concerns are disclosed or suspected, I will break confidentiality to inform parents and or emergency services to ensure their safety or the safety of another. I am also mandated to report if a minor discloses being the victim of child abuse (in particular, physical, sexual, psychological/emotional abuse) or neglect. I am very transparent with my tweens and teens however, so if I disclose information they shared in session, I will inform them first so there are no surprises. The line between imminent danger and possible danger is often blurry however I lean towards caution; if you have any questions we can always discuss more in session.
This is a common question. A psychotherapist is simply a generic term for a professional licensed in the healing arts, such as a social worker (LCSW), a marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a clinical psychologist (Ph.D or Psy.D.), or a clinical counselor (LPCC). A psychiatrist is a physician who prescribes medication for behavioral health conditions, and use 'MD' as their designated credentials.
Sometimes it's hard to tell, because change doesn't often happen in obvious ways. Sometimes it is in how you interact in your environment or with yourself. Maybe you find it easier to do the things you need to do, or you feel more decisive, maybe you have a bit more energy or patience, or you find yourself experiencing more self-reflectiveness. It's something that can be hard to define, but somehow things feel a little better or a little more hopeful, even if you can't concretely identify what that is.