How long should I be in therapy?
Usually the length of treatment depends on the nature and depth of conflict associated with the presenting problem. Some people will experience significant relief in symptoms after three to six months of therapy. However, to address the underlying emotional roots of most problems, long term psychotherapy is an even better option and many people choose to remain in treatment for extended periods of time, thus helping to ensure a more sustained outcome.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
A typical session last approximately 45 to 50 minutes, though some people request more time and many clients meet multiple times per week. A basic requirement is meeting for a consistent scheduled session with therapist at least 1 time per week. The first session is generally utilized to learn more about your history and the nature of your problem. Your therapist may ask more questions than usual during the first few sessions in order to gain some perspective on the problems and issues you bring to the treatment. As treatment progresses, your symptoms should diminish and insight into your problem will grow.
Is therapy Confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. The law of Illinois provides that the rule of confidentiality can only be broken in the most extreme circumstances. Examples of these include suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, if a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, if the client intends to harm himself or herself, or if you waive your rights to confidentiality.
Your therapist will make every effort to respect your privacy. Should we meet outside of the therapy office, no attempt to initiate contact will be taken on the part of your therapist. Conversely, you are under no obligation to acknowledge the relationship as well. This formality of relationship protects the therapeutic process.
Should I take medications?
As therapist we are not legally permitted to prescribe medications. After careful consideration a referral may be made to a psychiatrist for further assessment of need in this area. If you are currently on meds, please let us know the name and dosage you are currently prescribed at the start of treatment. The decision to take medication rest solely with you and in most cases is not necessary.
What is the nature of the Client/therapist relationship?
People often develop a close relationship with their therapist. The two of them have been sitting in a room talking about very personal subjects - often once or more times per week. Does this make them friends? Some people certainly expect that it does, but the client/therapist relationship works differently.
Psychotherapy is a unique relationship. The client opens-up in a way that the therapist does not. This is necessary in order to focus on the client's problems exclusively. How can trust develop in such a relationship? Since the therapist doesn't reveal nearly as much as the client, the client has to trust that the conversations are truly confidential. Trust initially builds from this promise of confidentiality, and then grows as the therapist and client work together to improve the quality of the client’s life.
Your therapist probably won't be your friend because that would create a "dual relationship." Dual relationships occur when people are in two very different types of relationships at the same time. Many dual relationships are unethical in therapy. It is unethical for a psychotherapist to treat a close friend or relative, for example. It is also unethical for a psychotherapist to have a social or sexual relationship with a client.