Abou-Zaki & Associates
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. 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 the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
· Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
· Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
· Improving communications and listening skills
· Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
· Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
· 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 long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
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 psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as trauma, 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 psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person or couple has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual or couple. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements form many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.
How does EMDR Work?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven't changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
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. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Currently, we are only accepting out of network coverage. Clients are still responsible for payment and we will provide the proper documentation for reimbursement.
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 the coverage amount per therapy session?
· How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
· How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
· Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should 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. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
· Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
· If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Exceptions to Confidentiality:
- Consultation: I may consult with other licensed professionals regarding my clients; however, the client’s name or other identifying information is never disclosed. The client’s identity remains completely anonymous and confidentiality is fully maintained.
- If you file a worker’s compensation claim, and your psychotherapy is relevant to the injury involved in your claim, if properly requested, I must provide a copy of your record to your employer and the Department of Labor and Industries.
- If I have reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered abuse or neglect, the law requires that I file a report with the appropriate government agency.
- If I have reasonable cause to believe threat abandonment abuse, financial exploitation or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred, the law requires that I file a report with the appropriate government agency.
- If I have reason to believe you or someone else is in imminent danger, I may be required to take protective actions, including notifying potential victims, contacting the police, seeking hospitalization for your or contacting family members or other who can help provide for your protection.
- I am required to report myself or another healthcare provider in the vent of a final determination of unprofessional conduct, a determination of risk to patient safety due to a mental or physical condition, or if I have actual knowledge or unprofessional conduct.
- In the event of a court order or subpoena, I may be required to disclose information.
- Information that may jeopardize my safety will not be kept confidential.
- In the event of a medical emergency, emergency personnel may be given necessary information.
- If you file a complaint or lawsuit against me, I am permitted to disclose information as relevant for my defense.
- In the event of the client’s death or disability, the information may be released if the client’s personal representative or the beneficiary of an insurance policy on the client’s life signs a release authorizing disclosure.