What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a process for treating varying levels of emotional distress (anxiety, sadness, grief, etc.) and disruptive/ineffective behavioral patterns through verbal and nonverbal communication between a client and a trained psychotherapist. Psychotherapy may include many different methods of treatment; however, most importantly, it requires active effort on your part as the client. This involves working with me, as your therapist, to identify the problems, develop goals, and take action. Psychotherapy cannot give you the answers to the problems you are facing, but it can help you find your own answers. Clients normally experience a range of reactions following sessions throughout the therapeutic process. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, and frustration during or after sessions. On the other hand, you may also feel a sense of relief, support, empowerment, or accomplishment after a session. As long as you engage in the process, psychotherapy can lead to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.
Why might I be feeling nervous or weird about trying psychotherapy?
Going to therapy does not mean you are "crazy" or that you can't handle your own problems. You may not be sure what you are feeling and why. Or you may feel as though "it isn't a big enough problem for therapy." I believe that psychotherapy can be helpful to anyone at different points throughout their life. Beginning psychotherapy is a courageous step to take on your journey to a more satisfying and balanced life.
How long and how many times a week is a typical session?
Sessions are 50 to 55 minutes in length. Most clients are seen at least once a week in the beginning and then, as time goes on, less frequently. The number of sessions depends on what your current needs are. It is important that the you feel comfortable with me as your therapist, which may take a few sessions to determine.
How long will I be in psychotherapy?
The length of time you are in therapy depends on the nature of the problem and the goals that the you and I identify in the first few sessions. Some clients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a set course of sessions. For others, therapy may be treating a more complex set of problems or an in-depth issue and may require a longer commitment on the client's part to achieve results. And others find that counseling is an ongoing learning process that helps them maintain a better sense of self-awareness and support to help them achieve their life goals.
How can psychotherapy help me?
Psychotherapy can provide you with an empathic ear, a more objective perspective, a safe place to explore emotionally painful topics, and guidance on helping you help yourself. It can help increase your confidence in your own strengths and help you develop tools to deal with problems more effectively. It may help you overcome obstacles that are preventing you from having more satisfying relationships, fulfill personal goals, or reach your potential in work or school environments.
What is art therapy?
"Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight." -American Art Therapy Association
Art therapy addresses emotional and psychological issues through the self expression and visual communication of creating artwork. Both you and I may create artwork. We may do this together or separately. I may give you specific directives, may collaborate with you to create appropriate directives, or may allow you to create freely. This all depends on your needs and goals. As an art therapist, I have been trained in therapeutic skills and in artistic technique/communication. I may assist you in utilizing artistic techniques, increasing self expression, and focusing on emotional subject matter.
Do you only use art therapy?
No. I have some clients that prefer strictly verbal psychotherapy and others who desire a combination of verbal psychotherapy and art psychotherapy. I am trained in both frameworks. I will work with you at your comfort level and will not push onto you methods that you are not comfortable with.
Do I need to be an artist or have artistic skill in order to participate in art therapy?
No. The focus of art therapy is not to create "good" or pretty artwork. In an art therapy environment, there is no right or wrong way to create artwork. Authentic creative expression is the primary goal of art therapy, along with goals specific to the your individualized treatment. Art therapy can help people of all ages. Adults may have resistance to expressing themselves with art, considering it "childish" or "unproductive." Unfortunately, Western society does not encourage art-making as a natural and fulfilling part of most peoples' lives, whether they are considered "talented" or not. I am happy to discuss and explore any resistance or negative associations that you may have with art-making.
How can art therapy help me?
Ever heard the quote "An image is worth a thousand words?" Some experiences are too difficult or painful to express in words. Art therapy can help you access and express other thoughts or feelings that traditional talk therapy cannot. It can act as a bridge between your inner world (thoughts, feelings, perceptions) and your outer world (life experience, behavior, relationships). Art therapy can help you build a stronger relationship to yourself by providing a way to externalize some of your mysterious/confusing inner workings so that you can explore them in a tangible way and at a safe distance. Again, art therapy can benefit people of all ages.
How can art therapy help my child or adolescent?
Children often learn to communicate complex issues through visual or behavioral means prior to gaining the ability to express these into words. Some children learn best through visual or sensory means rather than auditory or written methods. Artistic expression can help your child learn to express emotions in healthier ways rather than acting out or bottling up feelings. It can help them gain some understanding of what they are feeling and gain a sense that someone else can understand them. Art is a natural mode of expression for children and adolescents.
How could couples therapy help my relationship?
Couples therapy focuses on increasing communication skills, learning to resolve conflict respectfully, and addressing unhealthy or ineffective relational patterns. I act as a neutral party to aid in increasing understanding, safety, and intimacy in the relationship. I can help each of you gain insight into how your behavior influences your partner and the relationship as a whole.
What if I want couples therapy, but my partner won't come?
Unfortunately, sometimes one partner is not as willing as the other to come in for therapy. However, I often find that it is possible to improve the relationship by addressing even one partner's emotional reactions and behavior.
Will you try to push me to take medication?
Many clients have expressed a reluctance to go to therapy because they fear they will be pressured by the therapist to take medications. I believe that medication should only be utilized when it is necessary and may not be an appropriate treatment modality for the problems you are facing. However, some symptoms, due to their nature or severity, may benefit from medication, lifestyle changes, or integrative medicinal approaches. In these cases, I will discuss with you any questions or concerns you may have and will recommend further evaluation by a psychiatrist. I am not licensed to prescribe medication but will aid you in finding a psychiatrist who can.
Do you prescribe medication?
No. As a licensed clinical professional counselor, I cannot prescribe medication. Typically, clients see someone under their health insurance coverage or I can refer you to a psychiatrist.