Cedar Rapids Counseling & Psychotherapy Group, L.L.P.
Commonly Asked Questions about Psychotherapy
1. What is therapy?
At its most fundamental level, therapy is a conversation between an individual and a therapist designed to help an individual set and meet goals to make desired life changes.
2. How do I know if therapy is right for me?
Therapy can be helpful in a number of situations. Most often, clients are experiencing problems that interfere with important activities or relationships. The source of these problems may be common conditions such as depression or anxiety, or it may be from difficulty adjusting to transitions or changes in their lives, including relationship problems, parenting concerns, or work-related issues. Sometimes people have experienced a traumatic or overwhelming event that continues to interfere with their sleep or daily activities. Other individuals seek help in achieving a goal, making important health behavior changes or managing stress.
3. What exactly do therapists do?
C.R. Counseling's therapists hold advanced academic degrees and are licensed by the state of Iowa to provide therapy services. In general, our therapists will assist you in discovering your own solutions by helping you recognize and build upon your strengths and capabilities. We rarely offer advice but will provide education, emotional support, assist you in self-exploration, and help you find practical solutions to a variety of problems.
4. Is everything I say to my therapist private?
With a few rare exceptions, the information you share with our therapists will remain private and will not be released to anyone without your written permission. During your initial session, your therapist will thoroughly explain state and federal confidentiality laws and answer any questions about how your mental health information is handled in our office.
5. How long does therapy take?
The length of therapy varies widely from individual to individual, but when the problem or issue you bring to therapy is resolved to your satisfaction, therapy is done. Other factors to consider are policies enforced by your insurance company regarding the course of therapy. Many insurance companies limit the number of therapy visits allowed to an individual in a given time period.
6. How often will I need to come to therapy?
You and your therapist will determine the frequency of your therapy appointments. It is not unusual to begin seeing a therapist once per week when your reasons for seeking therapy are causing you distress; however, therapy often tapers off to once every two to three weeks as you experience success in achieving your therapy goals. Again, your insurance company’s policies may determine, to some extent, how often you attend therapy.
7. What if I do not like my therapist?
If you are dissatisfied, for any reason, with your therapist or the services you are receiving, you are strongly encouraged to discuss your concerns with your therapist. We are all trained to accept feedback about our work without taking it personally. In fact, providing this information to your therapist might even strengthen the therapeutic relationship and result in a better outcome. However, if there is not a good “match” between you and your therapist, we will gladly assist you in finding a therapist who might better meet your needs.
8. How long before I start to see progress in my therapy?
The progress you make in therapy is highly contingent upon your attitude and how hard you work to make changes in your life. The bulk of the work in therapy does not take place during the therapy session but in how you apply what you discover in therapy to your life outside the therapy session. Successful work during the therapy session usually includes the following:
· A firm commitment to change
· Regular attendance
· Sharing information openly and honestly
· A willingness to challenge yourself even when it is uncomfortable
· Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
· Respecting the therapeutic relationship
We will periodically review your progress to make sure you are getting the results you want from therapy. If progress is not occurring as you would like, it will be important for us to discuss what factors may be interfering in your progress.
9. How can I get the most out of therapy?
· Identify your goals: Take time to think about what you want to change in your life. The clearer you are about what you are looking for, the sooner you can start the process of change.
· Keep a journal: Writing in a journal helps you capture memories and discover your feelings. It can help you get to know yourself better and to become a friend to yourself. Make sure you always have a pen and paper handy so you can write down thoughts as they occur and reflect on them later. Seeing your thoughts and feelings on paper often helps clarify them; they are no longer just running around in your head.
· Read: Today, there are articles and books on every subject imaginable. Ask your therapist for a recommendation or go to the library or bookstore and browse until you find something that seems to relate directly to you. Be curious about other people who have gone through what you are going through.
· Practice new skills. Make it a point to use the skills you are learning in therapy. Skills are new behaviors such as speaking up for yourself with an assertive voice, or setting a boundary by saying “no” in a kind way rather than saying “yes” and wishing you hadn’t. The more you practice a skill, the easier it becomes.
· Celebrate your progress. Find ways to reward yourself for small victories. Give yourself credit when you do something you were afraid to do. Think of something you enjoy and take time to do it.
10. How do I end therapy?
The process of ending therapy, in some ways, is just as important as how you start therapy. Many people have difficulty saying “good-bye” when ending relationships and often will “drift away” without a word of explanation. It will be important to discuss ahead of time how you would like to end your therapy. Your final therapy appointment will provide us with the opportunity to reflect upon our work together and discuss how you will maintain the changes you have implemented in your life. Ending the therapeutic relationship without an adequate acknowledgment of our work together can feel very unsatisfying to both of us, while possibly making it more difficult for you to resume therapy in the future.