I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason aren’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to resolve the issue as you typically would. Bottom line, people who seek therapy are not weak, they are taking measures to empower themselves.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
It can be comforting to speak with family and friends, but those conversations don’t usually resolve problems. A mental health professional has the training and experience to help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.”
I’m ready to get started. What’s the Process?
• If you are ready to begin services, please contract our office to schedule an intake. If you have questions about services, please contact our office. If you’d like to address questions with us in person, please request a free 20 minute consultation.
• Fill out the necessary forms to start therapy and bring them to your intake. We will email them to you ahead of time, or you can come in early prior to your first appointment and fill them out in the office. Also, please bring a picture ID to your intake.
• Attend your intake session. This session is a little longer than normal therapy sessions. At this session, your therapist will ask many questions to learn about you and capture a snapshot of you as a whole person. He or she will also screen for potential mental health symptoms and start to conceptualize treatment.
• Of note, it’s not uncommon to feel worse after an intake. You will be talking about difficult things that you’ve likely been avoiding. It’s OK. These feelings will pass, but we like our clients to be aware of this possibility.
• At the intake, you and your therapist will schedule your next appointment, the treatment planning session.
• At the treatment planning session, you and your therapist will assess problems a bit further and discuss goals for therapy. What specifically do you want to work on? What do you want to accomplish? What will it look like when you meet your goals? This conversation will guide the work you and your therapist do.
• Attend your therapy sessions. Once you and your therapist know what you want to work on, therapy can commence.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, counseling will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs. In general, therapy will be a discussion based format led by your therapist to bring awareness, insight, and different ways of thinking into the foreground. Sometimes, there will be structured activities in sessions or materials introduced to assist with treatment. Again, we will conduct therapy in a way that is comfortable and helpful to you. We invite input from clients and encourage them to give feedback about what would be beneficial in sessions.
How long will it take?
Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time varies quite a bit. Usually, we recommend clients attend session once per week. At that rate, some people come to therapy for a few months and other clients engage in therapy for much longer. The length depends on your goals, on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. Most of the time, therapy concludes when clients feel they’ve gotten what they need. Deciding when it’s time for therapy to end will be an ongoing discussion between you and your therapist.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for one session per week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development. Your therapist will likely assign homework in between sessions. This may be a structured worksheet, it might be an experiment, it could be a reading recommendation, or it may just be contemplating an idea further. Regardless of the form it takes, homework is not intended to overtake your already busy life. The assignments will be manageable and help keep the momentum going in between sessions.
What about medication?
The focus of therapy is to alleviate symptoms by increasing insight, enhancing awareness, and developing strategies to make changes in your life. Therapy by itself is highly effective in treating depression and anxiety, and many people elect to address their issues using therapy alone. However, medication can also be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. If symptoms are especially severe or persistent, medication may be indicated. Fortunately, we collaborate with a very skilled psychiatrist, Dr. Jason Collison, who has a practice in Fort Collins. For more information about Dr. Collison, visit his website at drcollison.com.