FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THERAPY
We have tried to answer the questions that we have most frequently been asked. However, if your question is not answered here you can check other parts of our website or feel free to call us or ask your therapist.
If you have questions about therapy for children or teens click here.
If you have questions about billing issues click here.
Please see below for questions about therapy.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THERAPY
Will therapy really help me?
Therapy definitely can help you. Research has consistently found psychotherapy to be helpful. The Consumer Reports study (November 1995) found that psychotherapy was helpful for the vast majority of the 2900 respondents who saw a mental health professional (ref 1). Similarly, meta analysis studies (research that compares and examines the results of many studies) have consistently found that approximately 75% of individuals who received psychotherapy felt better/reported more improvements than those who did not receive psychotherapy (ref 2). While many of the studies of therapeutic effectiveness were done with adults a meta-analysis of 75 studies of psychotherapy with children found basically the same results as with adults (ref 3).
How does therapy work?
This is a particularly daunting question. Each school of therapy has a theoretical model that explains how it works (for example cognitive behavioral therapists assert that they are helping their clients change faulty ways of thinking that contribute to their emotional distress). However, there is a strong body of research that suggests that having a good working relationship with one’s therapist is the most important variable (ref 4). Research has consistently found that non-specific factors (the client-therapist relationship, empathetic listening and emotional support) are what make therapy work (ref 4 and ref 5).
It is our understanding that the process of talking out one’s concerns in a supportive and non-judgmental setting allows people to find new solutions to problems and draw on strengths and resources they had lost sight of. In addition, therapists can often add valuable guidance and direction.
How do I pick the therapist who is right for me?
First, tell us about your problem. Our intake therapists will match you with a Centers for Family Change therapist who we believe will be helpful to you.
Second, if you have particular preferences, in terms of the therapist’s approach or background, we will do our best to match you with a therapist who will fit best for you.
Third, you need to recognize that there is no one therapist who is the right therapist for you. Most well trained clinicians can help most clients. You want a therapist who has experience and training in working with the concerns that you are worried about. We will match you to someone with the right expertise.
How do I pick the right treatment approach for me?
Again, this is a daunting question. Well trained and experienced clinicians will differ over which approach is best, offering theoretical arguments, and occasionally research to support their point of view. However, the research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy consistently has found that different approaches are equally effective. For example, the Consumer Reports study, cited above, found no evidence that one therapeutic approach was more effective than any other approach. It appears that the key ingredients are the non-specific components noted above (ref 4; ref 6).
In terms of picking the right approach to therapy for yourself it is often a matter of finding an approach and a therapist that fit for you. Specifically, if you want suggestions and recommendations regarding practical steps you can take to solve a problem you probably want a problem focused or cognitive behavioral approach. If you want to explore your motivations, thoughts and feelings in an in-depth way you probably want an insight oriented or psychodynamic approach.
Should I see a psychologist, social worker, or counselor?
There is no evidence that therapist’s degree makes a significant difference. All of our staff are well trained licensed clinicians who can help you and your family. However, if you have a strong preference for a specific type of therapist, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
What do I do if I think my therapy is not working?
Talk to your therapist. The best thing you can do is raise your concerns directly with your therapist. You need to be an active participant in your therapy and need to be clear about what is and what is not working for you. Your therapist will not be hurt or offended that you have raised your concerns, but will welcome a discussion of what you need to help you. Many clients have reported that such conversations have helped their therapy become far more effective. If you still feel stuck your therapist can recommend a different therapist and approach.
Do I have to tell my therapist everything?
The more you put into therapy the more you will get out of it. Therefore, the more open and honest you are with your therapist the more likely your therapist will be able to help you. Obviously, it may take time for you to feel safe with your therapist, and it may be difficult to bring up certain topics. We strongly recommend that you talk with your therapist about issues you are hesitant to discuss and that you discuss any struggles you are having about being able to talk freely in therapy.
How do I pick the right therapist?
In terms of picking a therapist, you want a therapist who has experience working with the concerns or problems that you are seeking helping for. We will match you with a therapist with the appropriate expertise or if we do not have a therapist with the expertise you need we will offer your referrals.
If you have a preference for male or female therapist, or any other therapist characteristics that you think might make you feel more comfortable, please let us know. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is the skill and professional training of your therapist which allows him or her to help you. Thus, it is far more important that your therapist have training and experience in the areas you are seeking help with than have had experience with similar life circumstances.
Can I interview the therapist I will be seeing or interview multiple therapists?
Yes, you can do this. You will talk with your therapist by phone, prior to your first appointment. At this time you can ask your therapist specific questions that you have. If you want to have a phone interview with more than one therapist prior to selecting a clinician we can make arrangements for you to do this.
Everyone tells me I need Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT?
CBT has become extremely popular in the past few years. Part of the reason for its popularity is the fact that it is a more easily tested/researched therapy than more long-term treatments. In addition, CBT’s focus on the treatment of specific symptoms has made it very popular with insurance companies. Also, there has been research showing CBT is effective in treating anxiety disorders and depression. However, there is no consensus that CBT is clearly superior to other treatment approaches (ref 4).
We have a number of therapists who are extremely proficient utilizing CBT. If you want to try a cognitive behavioral approach let us know and we will arrange for you to work with one of these clinicians. However, please keep in mind that most therapists use cognitive techniques (help you examine your thinking, re-evaluate unrealistic expectations and beliefs, and examine ways that you think about yourself and your life that may add to your distress or difficulties).
How long does therapy last?
The length of therapy varies greatly. The nature of problems and concerns that you want to address greatly affects the length of treatment. While many problems are amenable to quick solutions, there are some problems or situations which require longer term or more in-depth therapy. In addition, therapists vary in their approach. Some emphasize more short term or problem focused therapy, while others utilize more in-depth approaches. Finally, your preferences also influence the length of therapy. People enter therapy for many different reasons: to solve or overcome a specific problem, to help manage and cope with significant problems or stresses, to understand themselves and their choices/behavior/feelings in more depth.
We recommend that you discuss this issue with the intake therapist and with the therapist you decide to work with. We will do our best to match you with a therapist who utilizes the approach you are looking for.
When do I bring my spouse or others to therapy?
At times it can be confusing to know whether to come for therapy for yourself or involve a spouse, family members or significant others. If you are unsure, we suggest that you discuss these concerns with your therapist. There is no right answer to this question. We will help you find an answer that makes sense for you.
However, if you sure that you want to address and resolve relationship, marital, or family problems we recommend that everyone who will be involved in therapy come to the first session.
Ref 1. The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports Study,
Martin E. P. Seligman, American Psychologist © 1995, December 1995 Vol. 50, No. 12, 965-974.
Ref 2. Meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcome studies. Smith,-Mary-L.; Glass, Gene V. American Psychologist; 1977 Sep Vol 32(9) 752-760; Does psychotherapy benefit neurotic patients? A reanalysis of the Smith, Glass, and Miller data. Andrews, Gavin; Harvey, Robin. Archives of General Psychiatry; 1981 Nov Vol 38(11) 1203-1208.
Ref 3. The outcome of psychotherapy with children. Casey, Rita J.; Berman, Jeffrey S. Psychological Bulletin; 1985 Sep Vol 98(2) 388-400.
Ref 4. See www.talkingcure.com, a website that examines research on psychotherapy and details how there is strong evidence to support the idea that no one specific approach or model of therapy is better than any other approach or model.
Ref 5. The Great Psychotherapy Debate. Wampold, Bruce. LEA Publishers, 2001.
Ref 6. Psychotherapy Relationships that Work (ed) Norcross, John. Oxford University Press, 2002.
QUESTIONS ABOUT INSURANCE AND COSTS
What are the costs of therapy?
Our fee is $150.00 for a standard 45 minute session (with the first visit charge being $175.00). However, if you are using your insurance it is likely that your fee will be discounted (due to our contract with your insurance company). Discounts vary significantly from plan to plan. Please ask your therapist to help you determine what your fee will be, before your first appointment.
Obtaining authorization from your insurance company
Please note, some insurance plans require that you get authorization prior to the first appointment. It is your responsibility to obtain the initial authorization. If you fail to do this you may be responsible for the full fee if our office cannot obtain a retroactive authorization (which some plans do not allow).
What if I am using my EAP benefits?
Some EAP (Employee Assistance Program) plans pay for several counseling sessions. These sessions are for the purpose of assessment, referral, and short-term treatment. However, some EAP plans do not pay for any sessions.
If your EAP plan is paying for sessions your EAP will cover 100% of the cost of your visits. However, for your EAP to cover the cost of your EAP sessions you must complete the forms (from your EAP). Your therapist will go over these forms with you at your first visit.
Please note not all EAP plans pay for sessions. Some EAP plans only provide referrals to therapists they recommend. Please check with your EAP or ask your therapist to avoid any confusion about payment.
How much do I have to pay at each visit?
Our policy is to ask our clients to pay the amount that their insurance does not cover. For some plans this may be a co-pay (a set amount), or a co-insurance (a percentage of the fee). Also, if you have a deductible you will need to pay the cost of each session until your deductible is met.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. However, you need to talk with your therapist before paying with a credit card.
QUESTIONS ABOUT TREATING CHILDREN
Do you treat children and teenagers?
Yes, we specialize in working with adolescents and children. Our staff works with a wide range of problems and concerns effecting children and adolescents.
What is the best approach for treating children?
As our name suggests, we advocate a family oriented approach to working with children. This does not mean we do not work with children individually. In fact, we often do. However, it means that we view the child within the context of the family (that means we recognize that children are members of families and strongly influenced and effected by their families). In addition, we understand that children (and teenagers) do not have the self-control and self-discipline of adults, and often need parental input and help to make changes. Finally, we realize that if we can help you, as parents, find ways to help your child that this is likely to be far more effective and efficient than a therapist working with your child one hour per week.
Can I be in the room with my child?
Absolutely. When we work with children, and even with teenagers, we want parents to be part of the treatment process. Even if we work with your child individually, we want to meet you, hear your concerns and answer your questions. If you would like to meet with your child's therapist without your child or adolescent, for the first visit (or at a later time), we are happy to accommodate. We welcome and want your involvement in treatment.
How much will I know about my child’s treatment?
The law is clear on this matter. For children under the age of 12, parents have a right to review their child’s complete record. For children (adolescents) ages 12 to 17 things become more complicated. Adolescents (12-17) are entitled to confidentiality of treatment records unless they specifically consent to have information shared with their parents. Parents are entitled to know: diagnosis, treatment plan, goals of treatment, and dates of service. If your teenager is 18 or older he or she is legally considered an adult and has the same rights to confidentiality as an adult. This means we cannot release any information without his or her consent, unless there is clear evidence that there is a risk of imminent harm to self or others.
When a child or teenager is participating in family therapy information about those sessions is available to all who participate. In fact, it is our policy that information from family sessions cannot be released without the permission of all of the family members who actively participated in the sessions.