It makes sense that you have a lot of questions about therapy. This process can be anxiety-producing, overwhelming or confusing. I hope the following can assist you in the process.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF THIS IS A GOOD FIT?IF YOU'RE THE RIGHT THERAPIST FOR ME?
Finding a therapist is a deeply personal experience and no two therapists are alike. It is so important to feel comfortable with your therapist. Some people know immediately whether it is a good fit while some find it takes some time to get that clarity. Here's my answer: it's a vibe, a gut check, or a felt sense. Ask yourself how you feel when speaking to this person, and if you get any sense it seems off, trust yourself and keep searching.
Your ideal therapist will help you feel accepted, cared for, seen, and like you can bring up anything. This doesn't mean that your ideal therapist will get things right 100% of the time. It does mean that if and when your therapist gets something wrong, you feel like you can tell them and be heard.
I love the free 20-minute consultations, so go ahead and schedule one if you're interested and we can see what it feels like. If we decide that I'm not the best fit for you, I will gladly help you figure out the next step to find what you're looking for. I want to make this as easy of a process as possible.
I encourage you to trust your intuition and if you feel internal signs that tell you this may not be the right fit, give yourself permission to continue the search. The relationship in therapy is crucial to your growth. You will find someone that makes you feel seen and supported.
YOU'RE A CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER THERAPISTS?
Professionals who practice psychotherapy include social workers, doctors (psychiatrists), psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social workers (or clinical social workers). All of these professions have commonalities; however, are also grounded in focusing on different aspects of the art and science of therapy.
As a clinical social worker, I think about who my client is as an individual through the lens of different psychological theories and frameworks. I also think of a client in the context of the systems and communities they are part of that that have shaped who you were/are and who you are hoping to become (i.e., family, work, school, community, faith, social policies, legal systems, institutional and structural racism, etc). I bring in aspects of the inter- and intra-personal dynamics, examination of spaces we hold or lack privilege in, and how that impacts our meaning making in our worlds. It is important to acknowledge and bring into our sessions the impact of external and internalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual shame, fatphobia, ableism, and all of the other -isms and -phobias that impact us all. All of these layers and their interconnectedness are examined in session. As a social worker, I can provide my clinical opinion and provide mental health diagnoses.
I cannot prescribe medication. Psychiatrists, primary care physicians, and psychiatric or a nurse practitioner can all prescribe psychotropic medication, (such as antidepressants, sleep aids, pain medication, etc.). I can, however, collaborate with your prescriber.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST SESSION?
If this is your first time trying therapy, it can feel daunting. Before our first appointment, I encourage you to take a moment to think about what you would like to get out of therapy. It's okay to not know or to be unsure as we'll work together to gain clarity and set goals for therapy. Also know that these ideas or goals can and may change as we work together. In addition to thinking about your goals, you will also complete an intake form before our first appointment, which we will help me get a snapshot of some background information. We may talk about different parts of the assessment in our first session or we may jump right into where you want to start.
DO YOU OFFER WEEKEND OR EVENING APPOINTMENTS?
I do not currently offer appointments on weekends. I do have Thursday evenings; however, those slots are currently full. I know it can be difficult to find time during the day to focus on your mental health. Let's brainstorm ways to shift or rearrange work or other commitments so that you can get the support you need. If you'd like to be put on a waitlist for these session times, feel free to let me know so that I can inform you if/when a slot is becoming available.
Here are some ideas to get help accessing therapy:
-check your HR policies around medical appointments. I can provided a letter confirming attendance of our sessions if that helps.
-ask your supervisor if you can flex hours to either come in one hour later, earlier, or possibly shift your lunch hour. Even jobs that have "fixed hours" may have some flexibility when it's a small chunk of time that needs shifting.
-consider using personal or paid time off for appointments. If you have 1 hour of therapy weekly for 6 months, that's only three PTO days. When we get to a place of burnout, we tend to get sick or need a day off. Those 1-2 days off tend to get filled with chores, to-dos, or binge-watching tv, which provide short-lived distraction. If you instead consider structuring your weeks with consistent time for support, it decreases the likelihood that you'll need to take days off to manage feeling overwhelmed.
HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD I GO TO THERAPY? HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT TO BE IN THERAPY?
I find that most people tend to get more out of therapy when sessions are consistent (weekly), particularly as we find a rhythm together. You are investing in a relationship whereby we can build safety together to reflect on the most intimate of issues. That takes more than two hours a month. At this time, I am looking for new clients who are interested in committing to weekly therapy sessions so that we can address both immediate needs and core longstanding issues.
CAN I FEEL CONNECTED IN A TELETHERAPY SESSION?
COVID has forced many of us to transition our work from in-person to video sessions. Amazingly, virtual sessions can provide space for connection and relationship despite being in a virtual space. In some ways, teletherapy provides benefits that we might not have access to through in-person sessions. I encourage you to consider what spaces might let you feel comfortable being vulnerable and open. Additionally:
Make sure you have a strong wifi connection or network before the appointment
Make sure you have an updated browser.
A personal link will be sent to you before your appointment (if you do not receive it, check your junk mail and don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL OR RESCHEDULE MY APPOINTMENT?
Life can be unpredictable. To ensure fairness for all clients, a 48-hour notice for cancellation is required so that this time can be provided to a client on the wait list. A cancellation with less than 48 hour notice will be charged for the full session rate. This policy also includes appointments that you miss or do not show up to.
Exceptions can be made in the case of emergencies. If you have an emergency and need to cancel, we will first attempt to reschedule at a time that works for both of us that week. If the scheduling does not work for either of us, you will not be charged for the cancelled appointment.
If I have to unexpectedly cancel an appointment, you will not be charged. This policy is not meant to be punitive in any way; it's just a necessary policy in order for me to successfully manage my practice.
DO YOU OFFER SLIDING SCALE RATES?
No. I understand that accessing therapy can be difficult and a significant financial strain. Unfortunately, I do not currently have any sliding scale slots at this time.
CAN YOU SEE ME IN PERSON? WHEN WILL YOU SEE CLIENTS IN PERSON?
As restrictions are lifting, safety and feelings around our levels of reentering the world differ for everyone. The process of deciding if and when we might have in-person sessions is on a case-by-case basis.
You may find that telehealth sessions are an easier commitment due to the reduce commuting time. As of Fall 2021, I will continue to solely provide telehealth services in my practice.