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Getting the most from therapy
A trusting relationship with your therapist will allow you to feel comfortable enough to talk about whatever concerns you, or is just on your mind. If you sense you need something more to feel at ease, please talk to your therapist about what you need in order to build this trust. You and your therapist can work together on changes you want to make for yourself or in your relationships, on problems you have, decisions you need to make, bad feelings you are experiencing, or any other issues you may have. When you feel it’s time to end therapy, you have the right to stop at any time. We advise that you schedule at least one final session in order to bring closure to counseling. Also, if your therapist feels that he or she cannot effectively help you for any reason, he or she will try to assist you in finding another therapist.
Counseling may bring improvements in many situations. How much it will help you depends, in part, on the time and energy you invest. Sometimes, when you begin to discuss your issues, things may feel worse, for a while, before they really begin to feel better. This is a normal part of the process. Your therapist will help to see you through this time. In couples or family counseling, it’s important to know that some parts of your relationship may become more difficult before the changes that you make begin to shift the dynamics of your interactions. In general, it’s unlikely that you’ll see lasting changes before 3 months of work. So, you’ll have to monitor any tendency you have toward impatience or discouragement with the process. Sometimes, positive changes occur quickly. In that case, it is equally important that you stay with the process. If you end counseling too quickly, you will likely have explored only the “top layer” of issues. When the next level of issues begins to come up, you may find that you (or your partner) will feel discouraged about the process, and be less likely to return to counseling. It is recommended that you and your therapist discuss your decision to leave, so that you can assess the likelihood that changes will be lasting ones.
Your therapist will either be a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern or a student Trainee. All Interns and Trainees are under the supervision of a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Please see our website for the qualifications of our therapists and supervisors. Because our Interns and Trainees are under supervision, they will meet weekly with their supervisor to discuss cases. Normally, they meet as a group with other Interns & Trainees. Please be assured that all of our therapists are under the same umbrella of confidentiality and cannot discuss you with anyone outside of the supervision group with the exceptions listed below.
What you say in therapy is confidential, with the following exceptions:
  • First, your therapist is required by law to report to authorities when
    1. there is suspected child abuse
    2. or suspected elder or dependent adult abuse
    3. or you plan to seriously hurt or kill yourself or someone else
  • Second, he or she may have to break confidentiality if you’re in danger of harming or killing yourself, to try to keep you safe.
There are other situations that threaten confidentiality such as: court orders (if you are in a legal dispute), the disclosures necessary for insurance claims, or reports to credit bureaus in the event of non-payment. Phones/email: On page one, you indicated the numbers where it’s OK to leave messages. Your therapist may not have that information at hand each time you leave a message. Thus, your call will be returned to the number(s) you give in your message. If you choose to communicate via email, please be aware that your therapist has no control over the general confidentiality of email systems. We can’t anticipate every possible risk, but these are the most common ones. See page 5-6 for more information.
Secrets:in family or couple’s counseling if one party tells the therapist a secret, it is understood that the therapist has the right to disclose the secret (at his or her discretion) to the other partner or family members.
Fees are paid at the beginning of each session. Please prepare your payment ahead of time. You and your therapist will discuss and agree on your fee, and record it below. Additional fees are charged for court appearances, written assessments, phone conversations, meetings attended on your behalf, or summary letters that you request. These are charged at your agreed-upon hourly fee. If you would like further clarification, ask your therapist before such services are rendered.
Session Length, frequency, and cancellation
A session is 50 to 55-minutes long. Appointments begin at the scheduled time and end 50-55 minutes later (usually 10 minutes to the hour). Sessions are typically held weekly. If you can’t attend an appointment, you will not be charged for the appointment if you call to cancel at least 24 hours ahead. If you do not call—or give less than 24 hours notice—you will owe the full fee for the session.