Below are questions I'm often asked. If your question isn't answered satisfactorily here, you may e-mail me.
When should I seek psychotherapy?
If you feel a deep and prolonged sense of sadness, hopelessness and helplessness; if you feel you cannot function in your daily activities; if you have repeated problematic patterns in your relationships; if you engage in harmful activities to yourself or others, if you feel “stuck” in habitual reaction patterns from the past– all these are indications that therapy is needed and can be helpful. If you are looking for additional support and a chance to work through self-limiting beliefs and behaviors and you want to take more responsibility for your life, therapy is right for you.
How does psychotherapy work?
At its most basic, therapy is an opportunity to talk about what’s on your mind and to be listened to with caring attention. Often, the experience of being met just as you are and being listened to with respect and interest is healing in and of itself. In the process, you may re-connect with inner strengths and resources, and discover ways to manage life’s challenges more effectively. Therapy can help you notice how your past experiences, which shaped your sense of yourself and the world, continue to influence your thoughts, feelings and behaviors in the present. By learning to maintain dual awareness and be present to notice intense thoughts and feelings as they are activated, you create choices for remaining grounded and responding, rather than reacting, to life. Skills you learn and practice in therapy can be brought into your daily life with greater confidence and ease.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
Each session is unique and focuses on your individual needs and goals. You can expect my focused, caring attention and my professional expertise. You will have time to share your concerns and feelings, knowing that I will help you keep them within a manageable “window of tolerance”. You will learn how to notice the connections between your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, movement patterns and posture. You will be invited to explore and bring mindfulness to the present moment, which helps you understand how past experiences continue to affect you. You will leave with tools to use and explore and practice in between sessions. The possibilities are vast. Each session is different, and is based on your needs and goals.
In addition to traditional “talk therapy”, our work together can take many forms:
- grounding and centering
- learning skills for balancing emotions and attention
- taking in the support and care being offered
- completing movement impulses that were interrupted in trauma situation
- being more aware of the connections between thoughts, emotions and physical sensations
- opening the heart to sources of love and comfort
- practicing and modeling effective responses to challenging situations
- using playful and creative expression
- exploring memories and how past experiences shape beliefs and affect current situations
- working with different states of consciousness
- learning about the brain and how to use it more skillfully
What is expected of me?
We will work together as a team. Psychotherapy is a joint effort, at times rewarding and comforting, at other times it can be difficult and painful. Your role is to be as honest and “present” as you can. My role is to share my professional knowledge and skills. Psychotherapy requires active participation on your part, including attendance at scheduled appointments, a willingness to discuss personal problems openly and honestly, and compliance with “homework assignments”. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it!
What about medication?
I am not currently taking medication, but wonder if I should.
You may want to start therapy before you begin taking medication. In many cases, symptoms that you weren’t able to handle on your own decrease as a result of therapy. In the course of therapy, if your symptoms remain the same , or increase, I will help you evaluate your options and refer you to a prescribing provider.
I am currently taking medication and wonder whether I really need therapy?
Medication can be helpful and in some cases, it is necessary. However, studies have shown that the combination of psychotherapy and medication is the most effective treatment. In addition, the benefits of medication only last as long as the medication is taken. The benefits of therapy often remain long after the termination of therapy. In the long run, therapy is a very effective treatment for people who suffer from mild to moderate depression, anxiety, or life challenges.
How long will I be in psychotherapy?
Because each of us is unique, there is no single answer to this question. The length of psychotherapy depends on factors such as: the types of issues you are working on, how long you have been struggling with your problems, the complexity of your situation, as well as your desire to look more closely at yourself. Some clients stay long enough to work out a specific crisis. Other clients stay longer, focusing on a deeper understanding of themselves and their world.
How often do clients come to therapy?
Again, this is something that will be negotiated depending on your availability and preference. Most clients come to therapy once each week, others come every other week. In the beginning it is helpful to have weekly sessions to provide continuity and momentum for doing the work. As therapy progresses, you may decide to space your appointments out to have more time between sessions to integrate the material into your life.
How long is a therapy session?
The initial session is 60 minutes, after that sessions are typically 45-50 minutes, unless previous arrangements have been made for longer appointments.
How much will psychotherapy cost?
The cost of therapy is always an important consideration. If you are paying out of pocket, my fee is $100 for 50 minutes.
If you have insurance that covers psychotherapy, the cost to you is significantly less. The healthcare plans I work with include:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Boston Medical Center Health Net Plan
- Boston Neighborhood Plan
- Harvard Pilgrim
- Tufts Health Plan
- United Behavioral Health
If you have one of these plans, you pay your co-pay and I bill your insurance company. Depending on the diagnosis, you may have 25 or more visits a year.