Many people have questions about whether or not therapy is right for them. Below are answers to some of the more common questions we get about therapy. We hope this helps you make your decision about how to move forward. If you have any additional questions, please Contact Us.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to therapy. Some may be going through a major life transition or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking therapy are: open to new perspectives, ready to meet the challenges in their lives, willing to make positive changes, and take responsibility for their lives.
How can therapy help me?
Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for a variety of issues. 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 difficult issues and concerns
- Learning new ways to cope with life challenges
- Managing emotional pressures
- Improving communication and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new healthier ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your life
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
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’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides you with the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect your therapist to guide you to increased understanding and introduce you to new tools and strategies for managing your life more effectively. Through increased self-awareness we will uncover what is hindering your progress. We will help you to develop the skills and insight to make desired changes in your life. The first visit is an assessment session (see below). In a regular therapy visit thereafter, you can plan to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, report efforts made since your previous therapy session, deepen understanding of self, learn and practice new strategies. Therapy visits last for 50 minutes.
What can I expect on my first visit?
If this is your first time meeting with a therapist, it is normal to have some apprehension about the initial session. We understand that and will do our best to help you feel at ease. The initial session has two purposes. First, it is a chance for you to get a feel for your therapist’s style, personality, and skills so that you can make sure that it is a “good fit” for you. Just like any other relationship, you “click” with some people and not with others. Second, your therapist will ask many questions regarding what brings you to counseling, what you hope to gain from your visits, and information about your emotional, behavioral and relationship history. In addition, we will collect your paperwork and answer any questions you might have at that time to determine if this is the right place for you.
How often will I need to come for therapy?
Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term for a specific issue, or longer-term to deal with more difficult patterns. It is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist. As long as time and finances allow, it is usually recommended that you schedule weekly visits at first in order to build a therapeutic relationship, build momentum and begin to see changes. As you progress, the frequency of visits begins tapering off as improvements are made and stability is achieved. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes.
How do I make the most of therapy?
For therapy to be the most successful, you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you take what you learn in session and apply it to your life so that lasting change can occur. Therefore, in addition to the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your change process — such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors in self and others, or practicing strategies and skills. Plan to work diligently and be honest with your experiences. Not all strategies will be effective, so don’t hesitate to share your challenges with the therapist so adjustments and improvements can be made.
What about medications?
The decision to use medications is a personal one that requires much thought and consideration. 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. While medications treat the symptoms, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that stifle our progress. Research has found that one can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Therapists do not prescribe medications, so you will need to work with your medical doctor (preferably one specialized in mental health medications) so you can determine what’s best for you.
Can I use my insurance or other third party assistance in paying for therapy?
Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance , employee assistance plan (EAP), bishop/clergy/ecclesiastical sources, crime victim reparations, or other government sources. Please call our office for more information on insurance panels that we are connected with and other third party billing needs/protocol.
Please be aware that billing insurances or other third parties carries a certain amount of risk, as we cannot control how your information is used once submitted. Most insurance companies require a diagnosis and not all therapeutic issues are reimbursable (insurance generally does not cover relationship/marriage counseling). Your diagnosis is something that is seen by multiple people at the insurance company, and can be shared with other insurance companies (life, disability, future health insurance companies) and the government (security clearance, weapons permits, public office, etc.).
If you choose to use insurance, it is your responsibility to verify the specifics of your coverage. Some insurance companies have limits on what we can do as therapists to help you as our client. Instead of doing what is best for you, insurance companies can say how many sessions are appropriate for a given diagnosis and some even limit which therapy modality is approved.
Will you accept my insurance?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year? When is that year mark set?
- How much does my insurance pay per session for an in-network vs. out-of-network provider?
- Is approval or pre-authorization required?
- Do I need a referral from my primary care physician?
- Will my insurance cover this particular issue?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Your therapist will provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for in the following dangerous situations in which the authorities (including Child Protection and law enforcement) may be contacted to investigate and/or establish safety:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, vulnerable adults, and the elderly.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Sometimes, it is helpful for your therapist to coordinate your care with your support team, or you may want your therapist to share information or give updates to someone on your healthcare team. Your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
Who do I contact if I have an emergency and need to talk to someone right away?
Cottonwood Creek Counseling does not provide 24 hour crisis management. If your therapist is unavailable to speak with you, you can call:
- National crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- US Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) Crisis Line at 801-587-3000 (24 hr.)
- University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) Warm Line at 801-587-1055 (Recovery Support, 3pm-11pm)
- Salt Lake Behavioral Health: 801-264-6000
- Highland Ridge Hospital: 801-569-2153 or 1-888-650-5083
- Emergency Services at 911
Will the therapist testify in court or write a letter to the judge on my behalf?
We do not accept clients who need a testimony, evaluation, or personal reference in court for custody hearings or other court proceedings. If needed, we recommend you contact a psychologist and/or in-home evaluator who can provide evidence based assessments and evaluations to meet your needs. We do not provide court ordered counseling per se; it will be up to you to speak with your court liaison to identify if our therapy services will meet the expectations of the judge.
Can I bring my children to therapy?
Children are welcome if they are participating in counseling. Otherwise, parents will need to make arrangements for child care so that they can meet with the therapist without distractions. There is no place at the office for young children to be left unsupervised.