What is mental health?
When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it. We can be creative, learn, try new things, and take risks. We are better able to cope with difficult times in our personal and professional lives. We blend our emotional, spiritual and physical lives and enjoy a sense of happiness and contentment. We have satisfying relationships and live close to our full potential.
What does Shirley specialize in?
Relationships. I will listen to your special circumstances, help you gain perspective and give you the tools and confidence you need to make desired and lasting changes. Relationships of all kinds have communication break-downs and life events that lead to stress and unwanted outcomes. My passion is to work with individuals and couples, helping them to heal their relationships so they can lead happy and hopeful lives. I can also help you to heal your broken heart after a painful break-up and move forward. I am a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and can help you incorporate your spiritual beliefs into your emotional wellness.
Why do people seek therapy in general?
Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as relationship troubles, depression, anxiety, lack of self-confidence, bereavement or addictions to food, alcohol or other things. People come into therapy for many reasons. Some have troubles in relationships, others need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, and then there are those who seek self-exploration and personal growth. Therapy also helps with unresolved childhood issues, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Therapy can help when someone is overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, or despair. People seeking psychotherapy are generally willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions. During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records.
What benefits can I expect from therapy?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy in the first place
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and developing new ones
- Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?
This is very common. If you are not sure what your specific goals are for therapy, the first task of therapy is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
How does insurance work?
There is a confusing array of insurance arrangements. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- Do I have mental health benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
- How much do you pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is there a limitation on how much you will pay per session?
- Is primary care physician approval required
Is therapy confidential?
Yes. 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. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.