Do I really need counseling? Can't I just solve my problems on my own?
Yes, often we can solve our own problems. Or we talk things through with a friend, a family member, a clergyman. Sometimes these conversations give us clarity; but sometimes they just give us somebody else's opinion of what they think they would do if your life were happening to them. Sometimes that isn't very useful, since the point is finding YOUR answers, not your friend's answer, or your family's answer, or even your religion's answer. Sometimes you come away from those discussions more confused than before.
Therapy is quite different. In therapy, it's not Judy's job to tell you what she would do if she were you. It's her job to ask you the questions you don't think to ask yourself. It's her job to listen to what you say and to what you don't say, or to notice things you say that don't match other things you say. It's her job to help you uncover or develop or learn or create the answers that come from YOUR heart and YOUR mind, answers that lead you to your truest, most real self.
It's your job to bring your history, your personality, your hopes, dreams and worries, and it's your job to face your challenges to the degree that you're able, because sometimes we're only ready to absorb one bit of insight at a time. It's your job to embrace healthy changes at a pace that reflects your readiness, and to notice other changes that result.
What happens in a therapy session?
Every session is different. Judy will start by learning what's on your mind and in your heart, what brings you to seek therapy at this point in your journey. Together you'll explore the facets of your life, what's working for you and what isn't, what feels good and what doesn't, what you've tried so far and what results you've seen. We'll get clarity on the results you seek, and what experiences or actions will move you toward those things. Because she's been in this business - and on this earth! - for quite awhile, Judy may offer some suggestions about things that others have found helpful. And, as the session draws to a close, often there will be homework: perhaps something to read; perhaps something to think about, to write about, a new behavior to try out, a skill to practice, a conversation to have with someone in your life. And usually you'll schedule your next session.
How long does counseling usually take?
That's really hard to say. Every client is different, every issue is different, and people move at different paces. How far you go will be up to you. You may come with a very specific challenge that's got you stumped, and in a few sessions you have found resolution. Or you may bring more complex issues, or you may find that what seemed like a simple issue actually has tentacles that reach out into many facets of your life. You may be satisfied with answering the original question that brought you to therapy; or you may feel called to follow that trail into deeper territory for a fuller understanding of yourself and your life.
Judy intends that you should see some progress fairly soon, the relief of feeling supported, understood; the optimism of seeing possibilities; the satisfaction of getting clarity about what's happening and what it means; the excitement of seeing opportunities for deep meaningful growth. How far you go will be up to you.
How do I know Judy is the right therapist for me?
In Judy's experience, that's simple: it's entirely subjective. You will know. Therapy isn't like getting the oil changed in your car. You don't need a personal rapport with your auto mechanic, you just need his skill. But Therapy is different. The relationship between you and your therapist is important. First, you'll look at Judy's credentials and decide whether she has training in the areas that concern you. Second, Judy hopes you'll look at her website and get a sense for who she is, her style, her approach, a sense of her personal style and what you see either appeals to you or doesn't. If it doesn't, you'll look elsewhere. But if you find yourself in Judy's office, then in your first session or perhaps your first couple of sessions, you will know whether you hit it off, whether you feel comfortable with Judy, whether the rapport between you feels easy and natural, whether you feel you will work well together.
If you don't know, then that will be the first task: to awaken you to your own likes and dislikes, your own perceptions, your own sensitivities. To help you learn to notice your own reactions and develop confidence in honoring them. And THEN you will know.
Does Judy do therapy via email? via Phone? via Skype?
Therapy is about much more than the words exchanged. When you and Judy know each other well, you may occasionally do a bit of work via email or have a session over the phone. However Judy knows in her core that communication is much more than words exchanged. Being in each other's presence, being physically in the same space, fosters additional layers of information and connection that are key to genuine relationships of all kinds, especially therapeutic relationships. For this reason Judy conducts 99% of her therapy face-to-face in her office.
Will my information be confidential?
Yes; with very few, very specific exceptions, your Protected Health Information (PHI) will be confidential, including whether or not you even are in therapy at all. It's very important you feel safe being candid with Judy if your work together is to be successful, so the confidentiality of your PHI is vital.
But there are just a few exceptions, and here they are:
- Very basic information about your diagnosis and the dates of your sessions will go to your insurance company, if you use health insurance.
- If you authorize Judy in writing to share any details with anyone, she will do that.
- If Judy determines that you are at immediate risk of hurting yourself or someone else, she will use that information to protect you or others, and she will tell you she is doing that.
- If Judy is subpoenaed by a Court of Law, she will turn over a very high level report of your work together, sharing as little information as possible to avoid being charged with contempt.
Have additional questions or concerns? Please don't hesitate to ask.