Why is therapy helpful?
Ultimately, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t get stuck in our own thoughts and behaviors. Therapy is a powerful tool because it allows for a reflective space to recognize our current perspectives and gain new insights towards change and growth. It’s also a new relationship you can trust to help you address your problems and past experiences without judgement. Research has done a lot to show that therapy can be just as powerful as using a medication to treat symptoms, AND it gets to the core issues that could be driving the symptoms. In my book, that’s where the real treatment needs to happen.
What is therapy like?
Remember that scene in Goodwill Hunting where Robin Williams embrace’s Matt Damon’s character and tells him repeatedly “It’s not your fault” until he breaks down and cries for the first time? After that he moves away from his hometown to follow a girl and begins to use his ‘wicked smarts’ to pull himself up out of the attachment-disordered existence he was leading before. Therapy probably won’t be like that. It’s not that therapy CAN’T help someone make that kind of turnaround, it’s just that there are a few realities that Hollywood overlooked.
In reality, therapy is different for everyone depending on one’s needs, the therapeutic style and the client’s unique relationship with the therapist. Goodwill Hunting is one of my favorite movies. It will always have a place in my heart because of how it honors an individual’s strengths and personal process of change. But, lets adjust some expectations:
Therapy isn’t always about reaching an ‘Aha moment’.
It’s more likely that there will be many smaller ‘aha’ moments (see #2). And, sometimes those small moments are hiding behind defenses that take a while to come down, and they may be emotional or even uncomfortable to see through.
Life-changing therapy doesn’t happen overnight.
Therapy does not have to be about your childhood.
Therapists don’t tell you what to do.
Therapy should be a collaborative approach, to meet you where you are most stuck and to help you identify the barriers.
Therapists don’t prescribe medications.
Psychiatrists prescribe medication. I am not a psychiatrist, although some of my clients have benefitted from medication. I
Therapists are not always analyzing or judging you.
Therapists are human.
So, what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or (CBT)?
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it is based on the cognitive model in psychology—the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their emotional, cognitive or behavioral reaction than the situation itself. (Beck, ). CBT teaches one to re-examine their perceptions through a more objective lens that has not been shaped by past personal experiences and narratives that all humans tend to hold onto.
CBT is highly researched and is often referred to as the gold standard in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and many other mental and behavioral issues. It draws upon a wealth of cognitive and behavioral tools, but what most people don’t realize is that it isn’t defined by the use of just those strategies.
CBT uses lots of problem solving and it borrows from many psychotherapeutic modalities, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Gestalt therapy, compassion focused therapy, mindfulness, solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, positive psychology, interpersonal psychotherapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. (Beck, )
What is Evidence-Based Treatment?
When we say that a treatment is “evidence-based”, we mean that it is supported by empirical research or scientific evidence that proves it is effective. Most schools of therapy undergo real world scientific testing to verify that the method used is leading to desirable results.
Therapy professionals are schooled in evidence-based practices and encouraged to use them because of the research we have that indicates their effectiveness. Let it be known that just because they have been studied and proven does NOT mean that other modalities can’t be helpful or effective.
Research and therapeutic modalities are a constant debate within the field of psychology. I believe that therapeutic professionals all strive to find the right tools that work for them AND their clients and there is still a lot we are learning. Ultimately, many of these theories overlap.
Modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT) were developed to include skills-based approaches to help patients learn tools from therapy while also establishing insight and self-awareness into their core issues.
How can I establish contact and/or schedule an appointment?
The easiest way to connect is to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you e-mail me to inquire about my practice, you may want to consider your answers to some of the following questions I’ll ask you:
What concerns, problems made you reach out today?
Have you ever been in therapy before? If so, when and for what concerns?
Do you have mental health insurance?
What sort of scheduling needs (if any) do you have?
Alternatively, you may also schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with me to see if my practice would be a good fit for you. Give me a call at (828) 417-2717 or e-mail me at email@example.com to schedule a time to connect.
What should I expect at the first appointment?
When you arrive at Building A of Forest Square Office Park, proceed inside and take a seat in the waiting room there and I will come meet you at our scheduled appointment time. The first appointment is an opportunity for both of us to test out the therapeutic fit to ensure that I can meet your needs skillfully, and that you feel comfortable working with me.
After reaching out to establish a first appointment, I will send you some initial forms to fill out and to bring in with you. Along with those forms, you should make sure to have your insurance card, and a form of payment for services (check, cash, or credit/debit card).
The first appointment will last for almost an hour. I’ll lead you through some questions to get a better sense of what’s going on in your life right now, as well as what your history and background are like. We’ll review the forms, and discuss any scheduling or payment needs. We’ll also talk about the frequency of appointment scheduling for future weeks that would work best to meet your needs.
What should I ask my insurance company regarding my mental health benefits?
When you contact your health insurance company, the following are the questions that you need to ask to find out what services would be covered for therapy:
- Do I have outpatient mental health coverage?
- What are my benefits for an in-network provider?
- Some follow-up questions in this area: Do I have a deductible that needs to be met? Do I need a pre-authorization for regular office visits? What is my co-pay or coinsurance? What will my cost for service be when I begin therapy?
- If I am not in-network with your insurance, you may have ‘out of network’ benefits you can still use to reimburse for part of your therapy. You can ask whether you have ‘out of network’ mental health benefits and include the same questions about deductible, pre-authorization, co-pay/coinsurance, and cost for service as listed above.
If I am not a provider listed under your insurance company, I can also give you a Superbill to submit our sessions to your insurance company for reimbursement. We can go over those details in session.
Jameson Halberg, LCSW
96 CENTRAL AVENUE
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA 28801