The Process of Psychotherapy

What happens in therapy?

You and I work together as a team in therapy. During sessions you are expected to talk about your concerns and issues, and between sessions to think about what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading something or keeping records. For therapy to “work,” you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions. My job is to listen, offer new ways to see things, and provide you with information that is intended to be helpful.

What is your style as a therapist?

As a therapist, I work collaboratively with you. I tend to be interactive-asking questions at times, providing feedback, and suggesting alternative ways to think about your issues. The first few sessions are devoted to my getting to know you and you getting to know my style. Choosing a therapist is important, and it needs to be a good fit for both of us.

At the first session I will attempt to get a sense of the problem from your perspective, and by the end of that session, I will give you my initial comments, including what I am hearing as the problem or issue that brings you to therapy, what your goals are for therapy, and how I suggest we may achieve these goals. Periodically throughout our work together, we will refer back to these goals and our treatment plan to assess our progress. Therapy concludes when you feel that you have made satisfactory progress toward your therapy goals.

What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?

You may have some general idea or concern that brings you to therapy, but you may not have thought of specific goals. If you aren’t sure what your goals are for therapy, our first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before our direction is clarified, and during the course of therapy, your goals may change. Some people don’t like to establish goals, preferring a more spontaneous approach. Identifying a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.

How often are therapy sessions?

Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or are experiencing extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. Other people feel that they can only afford to come every other week. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. I will work with you to establish the frequency and length of sessions that can reasonably achieve your goals and meet your needs.

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