FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Many people ask similar questions about therapy.  I thought you might find it helpful to know about these:

WHAT SHOULD I CALL YOU?
You can call me by my first or last name, whichever is most comfortable for you.  Your comfort will help determine how safe you feel, and as a result, how much about yourself you'll be able to share.  The more deeply we can go, the more you'll connect with the parts of you that are hidden, yet are influential in your life. 

WILL YOU WANT ME TO LIE ON THE COUCH?
Some people prefer the couch, either lying facing away or toward me.  Many people prefer sitting in a chair.  It's all in the service of what helps you best connect with the deepest recesses within you.  And it's important for you to feel physically in control and secure during our sessions.  Therapy can be a safe place to practice asserting your needs, even with something as apparently basic as whether you sit or lie down.

WHY AREN'T I GETTING BETTER FASTER?
We spend our childhoods learning to relate in ways that work within our families.  While these strategies may help facilitate our familial relationships, these same ways of relating can be counterproductive when we form adult relationships.  But because we learned these relational styles during our formative years, we don't usually let go of these ways of relating so easily.  These patterns can in fact be difficult to unearth and scary to give up; it usually takes patience to develop the internal self-awareness and courage to change. 

CAN'T I COME IN JUST EVERY OTHER WEEK?
Therapy is about going more deeply into feelings and working through problems in new ways.  I find that less than once a week usually keeps any depth analysis from happening.  Bi-weekly sessions can result in too much updating and reporting of events, rather than connecting with yourself in more meaningful ways.

I DON'T LIKE MY CURRENT THERAPIST.  CAN I COME SEE YOU INSTEAD?
If you don't feel you're getting what you need from your therapist, it's always an enhancing opportunity to discuss this directly with him or her.  (This rule doesn't apply if your therapist is doing anything unethical.)  If you discuss this with your therapist and still don't feel better about the work the two of you are doing, I'd be happy to explore with you whether we would be a better match.

DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT ME OR ARE YOU JUST AFTER MY MONEY?
The reality is that I do earn my living by seeing patients.  But money doesn't guarantee caring.  Your relational style certainly invites particular feelings from others, and the same would play out between the two of us.  What's wonderful about a therapeutic relationship is that we have the opportunity to discuss your ways of relating and its impact on other people.  During therapy sessions, I get to experience first hand, and then discuss with you, how you may be inviting or alternately distancing yourself from friends and family.

DO YOU REALLY THINK I NEED MEDICATION?
Some people struggle with feelings that can be too difficult to bear.  And sometimes medication can provide much needed relief.  If I think you could benefit from medication, I would certainly bring this up and could suggest an appropriate psychopharmacologist.  Additionally, our work would involve helping you grow to better tolerate and diminish these feelings, learn to get greater comfort from others, and also learn expanded ways of soothing yourself.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU TELL ME THAT I CAN SAY ANYTHING  TO YOU OR ASK YOU ANY QUESTION.  WOULDN'T THAT BE RUDE?
That's what's special about our relationship.  It isn't a familial, work, or social relationship.  It's unique: we have a therapeutic relationship.  And the more you share what's really going on inside you --- including anything having to do with your therapist --- the more opportunities we'll have to understand you and help you to grow.   Also, by knowing that you can say or ask anything, it can allow us to explore what constitutes safe and appropriate boundaries for you in your various relationships.