1.) What’s the benefit of speaking with a therapist instead of just talking to a friend?
Friends and family are very important supports. The difference in speaking to a therapist is having someone who is more objective and doesn’t have the same stake in your life as your family and friends do. In addition, a therapist is trained to address mental/emotional health and has specialized understanding of the issues and approaches and tools that others in your life do not.
2.) How can just talking about problems make them better?
For many individuals the things that are most difficult for them are those that they speak the least about. This can be because the subject matter is so uncomfortable, because they were taught to keep things private, or because they don’t have people they trust in their lives with these topics. Many of my clients have experienced trauma in their lives in the form of emotional, mental, physical, or sexual abuse. For these individuals, there is often an added layer of shame and secrecy. Giving voice to something that has been buried (often for many years) is very powerful. When you are holding onto something very negative, it holds you down emotionally and physically. As a result, people often report feeling better after the first session, because they are getting it out, giving voice to it, and being shown validation and empathy. Of course, this is not where treatment stops. Continuing to release and process is very important as is developing tools with which to cope more effectively.
3.) What therapeutic approaches do you utilize?
One of the approaches that I take most frequently is Cognitive-Behavioral. Thoughts are extremely powerful and affect our emotions both positively and negatively. By restructuring thoughts in a more positive way, one can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and often increase motivation to work towards goals and create positive change. We also have core beliefs about ourselves that can inhibit our success. For many these are informed by trauma and it is necessary to challenge negative beliefs about self, others, and the world in order to be able to overcome obstacles and create happiness.
I also frequently work with clients on mindfulness. When you are focused on the past or the future, it takes away from enjoyment of the present moment. Mindfulness strategies are also a way for people to ground themselves if they tend to dissociate or experience panic attacks.
4.) What if I don’t feel comfortable with/connected to my therapist?
One of the most crucial factors in having a successful outcome in therapy is the therapeutic alliance. It is incredibly important to find the right “fit.” If you meet with me and feel that there is not a good connection, do not be afraid to speak up. I will not take this personally and am always willing to refer to other providers to ensure you get the care that you need.
5.) Do you prescribe medication or have someone on site that does?
No. I am not a medical doctor and cannot prescribe medication. In the event that you require medication management, I can help you to get connected with a psychiatrist in the area.
6.) You seem to have a holistic approach. Are you against medication?
No. I prefer for individuals to work on their coping skills through therapy and to utilize natural remedies (meditation, proper diet, exercise, natural supplements, acupuncture, energy work, essential oils, etc.). However, there are cases in which the intensity of the symptoms indicate a need for psychotropic medication or cases in which the individual feels more comfortable with this form of treatment. I will not judge you or try to push you to get off of your medications.
You have to make your own decisions about treatment.
7.) Do you see children? If I bring my child to you will you tell me what he/she says?
I see children ages 12 and up. I also do couples and family sessions. When treating a minor, the parent or guardian has a right to information about him/her. This does not mean that I report back everything the child says to me as he/she needs to have trust in the therapist and will not open up if he/she thinks everything is being reported back to his/her parents. It does mean that if there are any safety concerns that I will absolutely inform you. In most cases, I will bring you into session and encourage your child to communicate these issues directly to you so that we can work as a team to address them. I also encourage regular communication at the beginning or end of session re: updates and concerns or by phone, email, or separate meeting if needed.
8.) Do you take insurance?
I take most major insurances including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim/United Health/Optum, Beacon (Neighborhood Health, Boston Medical Center, Fallon, GIC), Tufts, Cigna, Aetna, Medicare, and Tricare. I always encourage you to check directly with your insurance provider to ensure that I’m in your network before beginning treatment. This is because often insurance companies have their behavioral health benefits through another company that I may not be credentialed with or you could have a very specialized plan under which I’m not credentialed. In addition, it’s important to check on your benefits as well as many people have a deductible and are responsible for paying their medical providers directly up to a certain amount. This is to protect you from any unforeseen bills as you are responsible if the insurance does not pay.