What are some good things about being in therapy?
Being in therapy can help you feel less anxious and stressed, introduce you to new tools and skills for addressing problem areas, and improve your relationships (family, friends, partner, etc). People often seek out a psychotherapist/counselor in order to find a more objective viewpoint than friends and family might have. Talking with a therapist can help with problems that are bothering you or that are keeping you from being successful and happy in important areas of your life.
How often will we meet, and for how long each session?
Typical sessions are 45 minutes in length. I generally find it important to meet on a weekly basis, especially while we are initially developing a working relationship with each other. Meeting weekly can help you to find relief from your troubles more quickly. After we have gotten used to each other and you are feeling some alleviation from distress, some prefer to meet every other week . For family work in addition to individual, or in times of higher sensitivity, I will work to accommodate scheduling more than one session per week.
I’m concerned about my personal information. Are things I say in therapy kept private?
I understand and empathize that entering in to therapy may feel awkward! It can feel intimidating to open up to someone about very personal things that are going on in your life. For most people, knowing that what they say will be kept private helps them feel more comfortable. Privacy, also called confidentiality, is an important and necessary part of good counseling. As a general rule, I will keep the information you share with me in our sessions confidential (private). There are some exceptions to confidentiality – relating to threat of danger to self or others – which will be further explained at our first appointment.
As a teenager, is/how is confidentiality different?
As a general rule, I will not tell your parent/guardian specific things you tell me in our private therapy sessions. There are some exceptions, however, mostly related to if you may be a harm to yourself or to someone else. We can talk about some more specific and hypothetical situations together in our first few sessions so that you get a better understanding of what I mean.
Sometimes a parent or guardian will contact me, and I will listen to what their concerns are regarding you and your therapy. I will not give details about what we talk about in our sessions. However, it can be important for parent(s)/guardian(s) to hear about how things are going in your life. In these cases, you and I will talk together about how to best communicate some of those feelings and logistics. Sometimes it helps if we meet together with your parent(s)/ guardian(s) for a ‘check-in’ on how things are going; other times it helps if I talk to your parent/guardian, in general terms, about what a better approach may be in relating to you on certain issues and concerns.
As the parent of a teenager, how will I be involved?
Sometimes parents feel cautious about bringing their adolescent to therapy, for any number of reasons. I assure you that therapy with me takes place in a blame free environment, as I work with each family to capitalize on their strengths. We will determine how much or how little you will be involved in the therapeutic process, as that is based on the dynamics, needs, and desires of the family, and upon the age of the teenager. In order to help your teenager, it is very important that they feel they can trust me and that things we talk about in sessions are kept private. We will work together to find a good balance so that privacy is maintained for the teenager and you are included as the adult and integral piece in the process. I think it can be very beneficial for teenagers to see their parent being willing to hear what the therapist has to say and be willing to make some accommodations, as it presents more of a team approach.
What might I expect in our first session?
Our first session will focus on the concerns bringing you in for therapy, we will begin creating a plan for treatment, and be assessing whether we are a good fit to do the therapeutic work together. For a first session with an adolescent, I generally meet the teen together with one or both of their parent(s)/guardian(s) so I can get a better idea of everyone’s perspective and your family can all begin to feel comfortable about what to expect from me in therapy.
How do I find out more about EMDR?
I am trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and use this approach/ technique with many clients, to help reduce the pain of disturbing life experiences. EMDR is effective in the treatment of phobias, panic/anxiety attacks, complicated/prolonged grief, physical or sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder. I am happy to talk with you further about EMDR, and you can also find a wealth of information at www.emdria.org.
What are some reasons teenagers go to therapy?
There are a lot of reasons why a teenager might go to therapy or why a parent might be concerned about their teenager. Some reasons teenagers come to see me include:
• Transitions – adjusting to parents’ divorce or remarriage, graduating from jr. high to high school, high school to college, ending college, and the like.
• Depression – not finding interest in things you used to.
• Overwhelmed – with school pressure or expectations from parents.
• Parents concerned about who you hang out with and what you might be doing when you’re with those friends.
• Self-harm (cutting) or thoughts of suicide.
How long will therapy take?
There is not a fixed set amount of sessions for therapy, because working together is very individualized. However, that being said, I can work in one of two ways: short-term goal oriented, or longer term in-depth. Most therapeutic work tends to begin as goal oriented to work on and help alleviate the reason(s) bringing someone in to therapy in the first place. Once we work on the reasons initially bringing you in for therapy, we may work to see in what other ways these concerns affect your life or how periodic therapy sessions can be part of your self-care.
We will work together until a point where you feel comfortable and would like to end therapy. Ideally this will be a mutually agreed upon end time and include a couple of sessions for preparation and review, however you are free to terminate therapy at any time.
What forms of payment do you accept?
You may pay in the form of cash, personal check, credit, or debit card.
I am not a directly covered by health insurance plans. Some health insurance plans allow for what’s called ‘out of network’ coverage. If you are interested in this option, I recommend you contact your health care plan’s benefits department. I am happy to provide you with proof of service so you can recoup some of your costs by your submitting receipts to your insurance company.
You also have the option to private pay for sessions, forgoing any out-of-network insurance involvement.
Most Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can be used to pay for therapy.
What is your cancellation policy?
Your appointment is reserving my therapeutic time for you. Since it is difficult to fill a missed or cancelled appointment on short notice, I have a 24 hour cancellation policy, whereby you are charged your full appointment fee should you choose not to give more than 24 hours notice.
www.emdria.org – this website will give you more information about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a therapeutic approach in which I am trained.
thework.com/en – this is author Byron Katie’s site, from whom I draw some of my therapy approach. Byron Katie’s “The Work” is a process of inquiry into our stressful thoughts.
self-compassion.org/category/exercises/ – this page has guided meditations and exercises for increasing self-compassion, from the work of Dr. Kristen Neff
www.actmindfully.com.au/acceptance_&_commitment_therapy – this website explains Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which I also draw from in my work with clients
www.nimh.nih.gov – this website has links for more information including teenage depression, substance use, and eating disorders
www.nami.org – specific mental health concerns (e.g., Depression, Bipolar Disorder)
www.youthcrisisline.org – the California coalition for youth provides a 24 hour toll free number for teens in crisis or their parents who need crisis support for their teen.
grownandflown.com/ – a helpful website for parents, with blog entries about high school and college.
I find that people generally feel more at ease after our initial phone call, and certainly more so after the first session or two of meeting in person. I can help you see difficult issues in a new light, find solutions that may have escaped your notice, increase fulfillment in your interpersonal relationships, and provide a safe, judgment-free environment for all this work to take place.
If you have further questions, or to speak to me about setting an appointment, I would welcome your call or email.
Susan (Sue) Goetz, LCSW CA License # LCS 21870