What is Therapy?

A therapist is trained to help people cope with problems in living. Through the use of different types of therapy we build interpersonal relationships to assist in helping with changes like increasing an individual’s sense of well-being, and reducing anxiety or subjective discomforting experiences. In sessions we use communication to build a relationship. In this process we use things like play therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy or anger management therapy to help improve mental health of the couple, the individual or the family. We work to reduce distress from specific disorders such as anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD or other behavior disorders, or to improve adjustments to marriage and family life and to help reduce conflict in situations. Our ultimate goal is to help clients live and cope successfully with the everyday challenges that life presents.

Is Therapy covered by my insurance?

Your insurance may or may not include coverage for mental health benefits. Our office will assist you in this process by verifying exactly what your insurance covers and whether or not your deductible has been met and what your co-pay amount is for our specialty services payable prior to each session. We will discuss your plan at the time benefits are verified. If you are not covered by insurance or your deductible has not been met, then payment is due in full prior to the beginning of a counseling session. If you are covered by insurance, we will be happy to file the claim for you.

How many sessions should I expect?

Therapy is very much an individualized process and every person responds differently depending upon the symptoms and the reasons for coming to therapy. It is important to build a relationship with your therapist and attend enough sessions to allow adequate time to do the work required for improvement and progress toward treatment goals. Some clients come for a few weeks and some come for long term therapy. It depends upon the way each individual responds and the work they are willing to do as well as why a client comes in initially. Some people come over a long term basis but do not come as frequently as when they were initially seen. Sessions are generally weekly, every other week or monthly depending upon the need. Sometimes people stop coming for a while and then decide it would be beneficial to come again for a couple of times to strengthen them as they confront a new and challenging situation or when old issues rise up again. On average, a client comes for six to eight sessions.

If I bring my child, can I talk to the therapist without him or her in the room?

Generally the therapist likes to get the parents’ perspective prior to meeting with a child in order to fully understand the parents’ concerns and expectations for their child while he/she is in therapy. Depending upon the age of the child, the parent may be present quite a bit in the session with the child and often the session will be split where the parent has some time, the child has some time and then you meet together with the therapist.

Adolescents may follow the same similar procedure, where the parent may give an update on how things are going and then the teen comes in for the session and there may be a short time together at the end but there is generally not as much time together with the therapist as there is with younger children.

Confidentiality is part of the therapist’s approach to building trust with each client, even a child or an adolescent. This confidentiality is held and closely guarded unless a client appears to be a threat to himself/herself or others. So confidential information shared with the therapist is just that. At the same time, information shared by the parent is confidential too, but may be used to draw out information from the child or teen.

Are you going to tell me what my child tells you in therapy?

This is a frequent question. As mentioned earlier, children and teens need assurance of the right to privacy and to expect confidentiality. And this confidentiality is essential for therapy to be beneficial. Therapists are bound by limits of confidentiality, which means that we must report abuse of any kind and address issues of safety. Each case is different and so this is not an easy one to answer. Generally, the younger the child, the more information is shared with the parent because the child is going to be dependent upon the parent to help them change their behavior and often that means the parents have to make changes to their parenting styles to enable the child to be happy and successful.

Does Therapy Work?

We can say with confidence that we have witnessed many lives being changed, transformed and improved by time spent in therapy. It provides relief from emotional distress and allows individuals and families to make meaningful changes in order to move forward with their lives. Therapy is often as effective as medication for emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Therapy in conjunction with medication has been shown to be the most effective intervention for many behavioral disorders, such as attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

For more information on the effectiveness of therapy, see the following websites:

APA Practice Directorate (September, 1994)
Consumer Report Study, Seligman (1995)

What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, and a counselor?

  • A psychiatrist has a medical degree (M.D. or D.O.), which means the psychiatrist has completed medical school, including specialized training in psychiatry, and is a physician. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications and provide therapy. Currently, most psychiatrists focus on medication management. However, psychiatrists in hospital settings typically combine medication management and therapy services.
  • A psychologist typically has a Master’s degree in Psychology (M.S. or M.A.) and a Doctoral degree in Psychology (Ph.D., Ed.D or Psy.D.). In private practice, schools, or in hospital settings, psychologists can provide therapy services and diagnostic testing. Psychologists are required to pass comprehensive written and oral examinations to become licensed to practice in the State of Texas.
  • Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors typically have two or more years of graduate level training from specialized graduate programs such as social work, family therapy or counseling. Chemical Dependency Counselors receive specialized training, but are not required to hold an advanced college degree. All therapists are required by the state to pass licensure examinations in their areas of specialization in order to provide services.