Now that you’ve decided to reach out for help, you might have extra questions about the therapy experience. What will it be like? How long it last? How do they handle billing? These are all things that you will want to discuss with whomever you are looking to work with to see how their process works. Here are a few general things you can expect to experience/do in therapy.
What you should bring:
- Openness – Work on being as open and honest as you can with the therapist. The more you can disclose about your thoughts and feelings, the more progress you are likely to make. Tell your therapist what you feel is working in the process and what is not.
- Curiosity – Be curious about your experience in therapy, your life outside it, and the process of therapy. We all hit limits created by our own preconceptions and subjectivity. The more curious we are, the higher the probability that we learn more about ourselves, what is getting in our way, and what our options are for moving forward.
- Trust – For most clients, it takes a little time to feel comfortable and secure in the process – to build trust. The therapist will work at a pace that feels comfortable to you. If you find that pace too challenging, let the therapist know. It is also good to keep in mind that progress and change require you to go outside your comfort zone both in therapy and outside of it. When you trust your therapist, you are more likely to be open to that change.
Frequency: Most therapists meet with their clients on a weekly basis for 50-minute sessions. If you are experiencing more intense distress, you may meet with the therapist more than once a week until you navigate the crisis and the intensity of the distress recedes. Often, a therapist will reduce the frequency of sessions toward the end of the process.
Each Session: This will vary depending on the theory the therapist bases his/her work on. This can range from a very structured session such as a “by the book” Cognitive Behavioral intervention therapist or more open structure as with some psychodynamic/relational/humanistic therapeutic interventions.
Duration of therapy: The time you spend in therapy can vary quite a bit depending on what you need help with and the intensity of the problem. Some people only come in for a few sessions while other people see a therapist for 6 months to several years. Personally, I’ve worked with some clients for 4-6 sessions, after which they felt that they got the traction they needed and were ready to finish up. The large majority of my clients, however, work with me for 6 months or longer.
Payment: This will vary depending on who you work with and if you are seeing a therapist who is in-network for your insurance plan. Most therapists collect payment or copays at the end of the session while some will just bill monthly. If you’re using insurance, you may not know exactly what your copay/financial responsibility is until after the first claim is processed. If you are using your insurance it is always a good idea to check on your coverage and financial responsibility with your company in advance of meeting with the therapist. If your therapist is out of your insurance network/does not take insurance they can give a receipt that you can submit to your company for partial reimbursement.
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If you have any questions or would like to learn more about my practice, please contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation.