A frequent question I get asked by people unfamiliar with therapy is: “How Does Therapy Work?” When you call me, one of two things will occur: 1) we will set up another time for us to go through my phone consultation or 2) we proceed at that moment with a phone consultation. This phone consultation is free and allows me to ensure that I will be a good fit for you and you a good fit for me. I ask questions about your background with the issue you are presenting to me as well as related areas. If the issue you are presenting me with exceeds my scope of practice I will provide you with alternative individuals, practices, or clinics that will be more suitable to assist you in your journey of healing and/or repairing the issue you have discussed.
If you are a couple seeking therapy, I tend to prefer speaking to both of you for the intake. Although this is not a requirement, it does allow the opportunity for me to connect with both of you and understand how each of you see, process, and deal with the issues that are of concern for both of you. It is important to me that both of you feel comfortable with me because that is how we build a productive and effective therapeutic relationship. Consider reading over How to Get the Most Out of Couple Therapy to help you feel more prepared.
After your email or phone call, we can proceed to set a day and time for your intake session. Depending on if you are seeing me for individual, play therapy, couple’s therapy, or family therapy will depend on the time of each session and the cost (see fees).
This initial intake may feel more like an interview as I collect information on you and/or your partner/family members. During this process I am asking you to trust me and be willing to share things that can be difficult on several levels. First, I am asking that you share things with me you may have never expressed before and that can be extremely nerve-wrecking and anxiety inducing. Second, you may have shared some of this information before with others, but I am still a stranger to you and it might feel weird being so honest with a stranger. Third, most people when they think of therapy, they think of talk therapy via lying on a sofa while the therapist scribbles down what’s wrong with you. Some people believe my job is to judge them on what they are doing wrong. The Far Side Comics did a great job of representing this sentiment:
This is not how I conduct therapy. No one is perfect, everyone has flaws and how would me judging you help you move forward? It wouldn’t, so it would be a contradiction for me to do so. I also inject humor into my therapy, in part because I tend to have a humorous personality, but also because I think with a little laughter we can overcome many challenges.
After the intake, the regular therapy sessions begin. In these sessions, we sometimes sit together and talk, sometimes we will complete projects and tasks, and sometimes I may ask you to reenact a scenario based on what has brought you to therapy. We might meditate together, we may go over ways to increase or decrease what you are coming in for, I may speak more, or I may hardly speak and leave the time to you. Everything we do is based on what you are willing to share and how deep you are willing to go. How seriously you take therapy will reflect on how successful therapy feels to you. Know that I cannot read your mind, so if something is bothering you, or you felt a task or homework assignment I gave was ineffective, then tell me. What works for one person may not work for another and we can go over what went well and what was left unfinished.
If you are interested in taking a short tour of some of the rooms within Oshkosh Marriage and Family Therapy Center, LLC please click here.