Your questions answered by Dr. Susan B. Day. Click on any question to see the answer.
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. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
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?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
- Is pre-authorization required prior to the first visit?
While my office will do everything possible to assist you with this information, ultimately it is your responsibility to manage your insurance benefits.
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 forty five 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
Do you provide pre-treatment interviews?
From time to time, my office has received inquiries from potential clients seeking to speak with me in person prior to making their first appointment. Apparently, some web sites and other well meaning resources have advised that one of the best ways to find a good therapist is to call and speak to each therapist prior to making an appointment.
Because seeing a therapist is an investment in your time and resources, I have some sympathy for wanting to speak with a therapist prior to making an appointment. Unfortunately, I do not believe that phone interviews of this sort are the best way to evaluate whether you can develop a therapeutic relationship with any therapist.
I recommend that you meet a therapist that you are considering for treatment for at least three sessions to assess whether you and the therapist have a comfort level with each other, a clear understanding of the reasons why you are seeking therapy, and a common understanding on the methods that will be used to address any problems that you may be having. I do not believe that you will be able to achieve that in a 15 minute phone call.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. By working with your medical doctor, you can determine what is 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.
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.
- 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 your therapeutic orientation?
- Cognitive Behavioral
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Why has my surgeon or pain physician referred me to you for an evaluation?
First, I have sub-specialty training in pain management. I frequently receive referrals from pain management physicians and other specialists for psychological evaluations of patients suffering from chronic pain. These referrals are not meant to trivialize a person’s pain condition as psychiatric in nature. Because chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety, that if severe enough, could adversely impact the effectiveness of pain treatments, then your doctor needs information about how you are coping with your pain in order to make informed decisions about your care. For this reason among others, your doctor may want to have you see a psychologist who specializes in chronic pain to determine for example if you are a reasonable candidate for certain types of medications, to see if you are a reasonable candidate for certain medical procedures, and to see if you may benefit from psychological approaches to pain management.
If you are being referred for a pre-surgical clearance for bariatric surgery, there are a number of reasons why psychological clearance may be required. Psychological clearance is often a requirement of insurance coverage for surgery and many surgeons require psychological clearance as their standard of care. The reasons for this requirement are many. All bariatric surgeries have different risk and benefit profiles, but ultimately they are tools to help the patient to lose weight and require that they comply with certain life-style changes.
Psychologists are required to make sure that there are no psychological factors that would interfere with your ability to comply with the life-style changes that would be necessary to ensure the success of bariatric surgery. The psychologist is required to make sure that you understand those changes that you will need to make and there is a reasonable expectation that you will comply with those changes. The psychologist needs to make sure that you can provide informed consent by documenting that you understand the risks and benefits of the procedure. Psychologists are supposed to provide recommendations for treatment for those who may or may not yet be deemed a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Are you a participating provider for my insurance plan?
I participate in most insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Worker’s Compensation, but please check with your insurance to see if I am a participating provider. For further questions about whether I may be a participating provider for your insurance plan, please contact the office.
Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. It only makes since to seek out a therapist if you are willing to take a look at your life and make a change. 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. 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 change in their lives.
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