|THE FIRST VISIT|
FEES & PAYMENT
BENEFITS OF THERAPY
After being put to the test, most modern forms of psychotherapy have proven to be highly effective. Scientific studies find that the average person receiving therapy is better off than 80% of those without the benefit of therapy (Asay & Lambert, 1999; Wampold, 2001). This is not surprising given that 60 to 70% of physician visits stem from psychological distress or are exacerbated by psychological or behavioral factors (Duncan, Miller, & Sparks, 2004).
Unfortunately, many who would certainly benefit from psychotherapy remain unaware of the opportunity. The drug commercials shown on TV encourage a chemical solution to most emotional problems. Accordingly, a large national survey of primary care physicians revealed that antidepressants were the treatment of choice for depression 72% of the time, compared only to 38% for mental health referrals (Williams, Rost, Dietrich, Ciotti, Zyzanski, & Cornell, 1999). This trend continues despite the fact that supportive psychotherapy combined with antidepressant medication is known to be more effective than pharmaceutical treatment alone, especially in severe cases of depression (Findings presented at the 157th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association).
Exactly why does psychotherapy
work? That question has not been entirely answered yet. What is
known is that within the context of a safe and nurturing environment, it is
helpful to discuss situations that we can't seem to get a handle on or past
events that were emotionally traumatic. Speaking with friends or family
can sometimes be beneficial, however, there is extra benefit in speaking with
someone who is emotionally unbiased and who has years of experience dealing successfully
with psychological or behavioral issues. When working with relationships
or social problems, therapists will often provide useful skills for improving
communication and negotiating one's needs. Perhaps most importantly, a
skillful therapist works with individuals to help them discover
CLIENT RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
All participation in therapy is voluntarily. Even if you have been strongly urged by others or even ordered by a court to attend therapy; the decision to participate and derive benefit from therapy resides exclusively in you. While in therapy, you have the freedom to retain any personal beliefs or behaviors that are fundamental to your sense of dignity and positive self-regard. The goal of therapy is not to change who you are but to help you become more of who you want to be. Once you consent to treatment, you should do your best to actively involve yourself in the change process. If you are not happy with the results obtained in therapy, it is your right to request a new therapist or to request a second opinion. Finally, you have the right to leave therapy at any time.
Therapy is a cooperative endeavor aimed at achieving the
results you are seeking. Therefore it is your right and responsibility to participate in
setting the therapeutic agenda by establishing goals and by sharing your
expectations for progress. While
consulting with the therapist, you have a right to be informed of the type of
treatment the therapist is considering and in return you should indicate what treatment methods and/or
style of therapy you think will best meet your needs. It is your right to be informed of the expected results of
prescribed treatments, including any possible adverse effects. It is important to
provide the therapist with feedback regarding your ongoing experience in
therapy. In all cases, you have the
right to report
grievances regarding services and to have any such concerns addressed.
right to privacy not privacy not only includes the protection of records, which
are not be revealed to anyone without your written authorization, but also the
right to keep private those things that you are not yet ready to share in
therapy. There are some obvious exceptions to confidentiality, which
include knowledge of child or elder abuse, intent to harm oneself or others, or
a court ordered release of records; however, it is your right to be informed
from the beginning of any mandated exceptions to confidentiality. In all
cases, you have a right to have your boundaries respected and your confidences
"The most difficult part of
the session was just getting here."
When new to therapy, it is not uncommon to feel some apprehension before the first visit. The information on this page will help those seeking therapeutic assistance feel more comfortable on their first visit and better prepared to derive maximum benefit from therapy.
The process of writing your thoughts on paper and describing what you want from therapy is often helpful. There are many different types of questions that you can ask yourself in order to prepare the way for a more efficient resolution of the problem. The following is an example of the types of questions that might produce therapeutic benefit, even before the trip to the therapist's office.
"I had many patients
write a letter to me, explain that they want help…and not mail it…they went
through that formal conscious process of asking for
help and then their unconscious would answer them. So
when I am just a memory, you still write to me and your unconscious can answer
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