Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during the initial phone consultation?
Feeling comfortable with your counselor is a vital piece of the therapeutic process. During this consultation, we will briefly discuss the presenting challenges and the important decision (that first step) you've taken to schedule therapy. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about working with me. At the end of the consultation, we will decide the next step together.
How do I move past the stigma about mental illness and going to counseling?
Sometimes we as a society (friends, family, coworkers, and others) can make things difficult for others, with our opinions and thoughts and all. And it's not just related to mental illness or counseling - it's with a lot of things. It can seem like it's you against the world, and sometimes it is. So, how about we call a spade a spade. The stigma about mental illness may never go away, so don't let that stop you.
Remember this - the decision to seek help is a personal decision that you have to make. It's about your worth and what you need in this phase of your life. You move past the stigma by recognizing it's your life, your health, your mental state. You move past the stigma by recognizing that it's a personal decision, and other people's opinions are just, well, information. You get to choose what to do with the information. How do you move past the stigma that may never change? You borrow Nike's mantra - Just Do It. You may be surprised to find that support will come from unlikely places.
How long will therapy last?
Therapy will be different for each person. It's impossible to say specifically how long therapy will last, however, most of my clients attend weekly therapy from three to six months. There are lots of variables to this time frame, including the depth and/or severity of the challenges presented and your application to to the lifework assignments. We will work together to identify therapy goals during the first few sessions, and assess you goals every three months.
Q What is EMDR?
EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. If you have experienced a life stressor or trauma that continues to affect your life, you may benefit from EMDR. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation that helps the brain process painful and distressing experiences so these events are no longer stuck on repeat, and instead become more like a memory without the strong emotional attachment.
"Often, when something traumatic happens, it seems to get locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and so on. Since the experience is locked there, it continues to be triggered whenever a reminder comes up. It can be the basis for a lot of discomfort and sometimes a lot of negative emotions, such as fear and helplessness, that we can't seem to control. These are really the emotions connected with the old experience that are being triggered.
The eye movements we use in EMDR seem to unlock the nervous system and allow your brain to process the experience. That may be what is happening in REM, or dream, sleep: 'The eye movements may be involved in processing the unconscious material. The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and you are the one in control." Francine Shapiro, EMDR Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures, 2001.
EMDR is the primary modality I use in therapy. Click here to find out more about the benefits of EMDR therapy.