What is psychotherapy?
What should I look for when choosing a therapist?
What’s an MFT?
I’m not sure whether or not psychotherapy is right for me. How can I decide?
How often are psychotherapy sessions?
How long are psychotherapy sessions?
How long does psychotherapy take?
How much does psychotherapy cost?
Will my insurance company pay for any or all of the therapy?
Is everything said in therapy confidential?
For Mental Health Providers – What company do you use for billing and practice management?
I have a question not answered here — what should I do?
The textbook definition of psychotherapy is the treatment of psychological, emotional, or behavior disorders using interpersonal communications between a client and a licensed counselor or psychotherapist.
In plain English, psychotherapy is about making changes. It’s about letting go of beliefs about how life and relationships work that aren’t bringing you happiness – and in fact, may be making you miserable.
Therapy is about the recognition of these beliefs, with the help of a professional. It’s hard to make something conscious that is unconscious all on our own. A psychotherapist observes our responses in session and deduces what beliefs might be driving those responses.
Of course, openly discussing our beliefs with another person requires a relationship based on trust. One of the primary goals of psychotherapy is to first establish a trusting relationship between the client and the therapist in which the client feels free to express personal thoughts and emotions.
Therapy is a collaborative process that requires active involvement from both of us.
Only once trust is established, can the healing process begin. This requires making the beliefs that are holding us back conscious so we can then challenge and change them. Understanding and grieving what losses might have ensued from these beliefs is also an important part of the healing process.
Psychotherapy helps people understand their present conditions, turn their expressions into insights, and work towards healing the emotional and behavioral patterns that are stand as obstacles along their path to a richer, more fulfilling life.
Since each therapist has their own unique style of practicing resulting from their theoretical orientation and life experience, it is very important that you interview a few therapists and choose one that you feel the most comfortable with.
The most important factor in successful therapy is the relationship that forms between you and your therapist. It is essential that you choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. You are, after all, making yourself vulnerable when you reveal your innermost thoughts and feelings to another person.
You should also look for a therapist who is honest with you about their own limitations, as no therapist can effectively treat anything and everything. When interviewing therapists, ask for issues that are beyond the scope of their practice… If they can’t or won’t answer, you can cross them off your list. If you can’t trust your therapist, the work you do to together won’t help.
Choose a therapist who will challenge you to move beyond the limiting beliefs of who you think you are, helping you explore ways to make lasting, positive changes in your life.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals, couples, families, and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive lives. The psychotherapeutic practice also includes pre-marital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relational types of counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists licensed by the state of California. Requirements for licensure include a doctorate or a two-year master’s degree, the passage of a comprehensive written examination, and the completion of 3000 hours of supervised experience. (Courtesy of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists)
There are three other types of licensed professionals who provide psychotherapy in California:
- Psychiatrists: Medical doctors who have specialized in psychiatry. They are the only mental health practitioners who can prescribe medication as well as conduct psychotherapy. I recommend that any psychiatrist you see be “board-certified” in psychiatry.
- Clinical Psychologists: Along with receiving a Ph.D. in psychology or educational psychology, clinical psychologists have completed 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and passed two examinations.
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs): Along with receiving a Master’s degree in Social Work, LCSWs have completed 3200 supervised hours of clinical practice and passed two examinations.
Do you feel you’re making the same mistakes over and over again? Are you experiencing an issue that is preventing you from engaging in your regular routine? Are you having difficulty talking with family or friends? Do I need someone objective to talk with?
People come into therapy for a myriad of reasons. Some of the most common conditions include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, relationship issues, unresolved childhood wounds, life transitions such as divorce or bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks.
People often seek therapy because they feel some part of their lives aren’t working and they want life to be different. By seeking psychotherapy they acknowledge their willingness to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change, and create greater awareness in their lives.
Many people feel a great deal of benefit from psychotherapy, some even after comparatively few meetings. However, like any other treatment or life experience, psychotherapy may not be suitable for everyone. Each individual has to make up their own mind about whether therapy is helpful.
I highly encourage you to interview a few therapists and have one or two initial evaluation sessions. In these initial sessions, you can discuss your current situation with your therapist, along with your questions and concerns about therapy.
I’m happy to work with you to determine if therapy is appropriate for you at this time, and if it is, whether both of us feel an interest in working together. If, at the end of the first session, we decide for any reason that your needs would be better served by someone else, I’d be happy to provide referrals to other therapists.
The aim of my initial consultations is to help people think about these issues and become comfortable asking questions. Clinical experience shows that if you are motivated and set yourself realistic goals, psychotherapy is likely to be of benefit.
Most psychotherapy is conduct once per week, although it can be up to three times per week in certain circumstances.
I find that meeting weekly helps maintain continuity in our work together and increases the rate of my clients’ progress.
That having been said, there are frequently exceptions to the weekly structure for therapy. Some clients work with me more frequently, at least for a time. Some clients work with me less frequently – for example, because of their travel schedules.
Sessions are usually 50 minutes, although I am available for longer sessions when we agree to schedule them in advance.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to answer this question accurately, since the length of treatment depends on your individual needs, the issues you’d like to work on, and how you will define success.
For example, working on assertiveness skills, or a similar very specific, straightforward issue, might be successfully completed successfully in as few as 5-10 sessions. However, I often work with clients for months, and sometimes years, depending on the issues they’re facing and the goals they’d like to achieve. It is also not uncommon for clients to do some work with me, achieve their goals, take a break, and then resume therapy at a later date to pursue other goals.
After I learn more about the issues you want to work on, I might be able to provide you with some idea of how long we might be working together.
Each 50-minute session is billed at $175.00 per session.
Sliding fees may be available and Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
48-hour notice is required for cancellation of a session and you will be financially responsible for any late cancellations or missed appointments.
Possibly. These days, insurance companies are all over the map with their coverage (or lack thereof) for mental health services.
That being said, I accept all insurance providers and am a part of nearly all managed care panels.
However, if I’m not on your managed care plan, some plans may still reimburse for my services. So, if that’s the case, you may want to check with yours to see if they will cover individual psychotherapy with an “out-of-network” Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist of your choice.
I’m happy to help work with your insurance company. I can provide a statement of services provided whenever you’d like, and can file your claims for you if you wish. I’m also happy to follow up with the company by phone if there are problems with your reimbursement and you’ve not been successful in trying to resolve the problems.
Please be aware that if you decide to involve your insurance company in your treatment, they will require information from you and/or I about the treatment. The information required varies from company to company. Since confidentiality is central and crucial to my work with clients, I always ask for your written permission before releasing any information (including the existence of the therapy itself) to your insurance company. I also always strive to release the absolute minimum amount of information that will meet the company’s requirements. If you’re considering involving your insurance company, I recommend that you investigate and know in advance what information your insurance company requires from both of us.
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist-information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.
Outside of these exceptions to confidentiality, all credible therapists receive supervision. Supervision is a process which helps the therapist to think about what is going on, and maintains the safety of the therapeutic relationship and is provided by another highly-trained and experienced Psychotherapist or Psychoanalyst. Any necessary details about therapy will be discussed during supervision, however the general rule all psychotherapists operate under is “whom you see and what is said is confidential” and all supervisors who are also therapists are made fully aware of this.
I have worked with Stone Taylor at Psyche Associates for nearly 20 years. Please see her website at www.psyche-associates.com, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 510-220-0660 to inquire about her services and fees.
Simply call me at 510-486-1188 or e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able!