What is TLC? What is The Loving Choice?
The Loving Choice is the answer to the question, "What do I need right now?" So often we get caught (no wonder) in the multitude of "I should," "I could," "If only I would," "I have to," and "I want" that we become disconnected from what we need. But what we need is our responsibility--the only job that we can never resign from. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish: again, it is our responsibility. That is not to say that we don't have other responsibilities to others and to the world--but we are only responsible for ourselves and those dependent on us for care (children, pets, and other dependents). In taking care of ourselves, we take care of the instrument of service--us.... :) Take some care--give yourself TLC.
Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition--life circumstances to which we may be struggling in adjusting to.
Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards self-acceptance and loving choices in their lives.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. "There's nothing wrong with you" because you find yourself in need of support. Given your genetics, life circumstances, and internal and external supports (or lack thereof), you could not be any other way right now. The good news is with learning how to change your internal and external supports you can feel better--body, mind, and spirit.
Therapy is a step in self-care: taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to increase your supports by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct self-defeating patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Healing from shame-based messages and changing self-hating behaviors
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
- Improvement in frequency, intensity, and duration of shame-based spirals, leading to self-destructive behaviors
- Increased acceptance of oneself and others
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- What is my copay?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- What credential is required for services to be covered?
If you have difficulties with this process, I can help you navigate the insurance process. I am credentialed with Highmark insurance plans.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
What is the BCC credential, and how is coaching different from counseling/therapy?
The Board Certified Coach credential is offered by the Center for Credentialing and Education. Because of the stigma associated with "mental health," there has been a proliferation of "coaching programs" directed at helping generally well-functioning individuals seeking improvement in goal attainment who might otherwise not consider counseling or therapy. Many "coaches" do not have degree-based education in the areas of mental health, psychology, or counseling. Those with the credential of NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor) and BCC (Board Certified Coach) have both. Visit http://www.cce-global.org/ for more information on these credentials. If you are interested in coaching services, please visit www.CompassionateTogether.com.