There can be many benefits when participating in therapy. Psychotherapy has been shown in research to help clients with various issues and mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, stress management, and creative blocks. Therapists can also offer a different perspective and provide a solution-focused approach to dealing with your primary concerns or problems. Here are just some of the benefits available from therapy:
Finding effective ways to cope with the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Attain a better understanding of yourself and your interaction with others
Learning and developing new coping strategies for improving your relationships
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing feelings such as anger, grief, depression, hopelessness and others
Learning effective communication and assertiveness skills
Changing and altering maladaptive thinking and behavior patterns
Discovering new ways to solve problems within your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can deal with my own problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life. And while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some people may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Psychotherapy is not easily described in general terms. The experience can vary depending on the personalities of the therapist and client and the particular concerns the client brings into therapy. There are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you hope to address. Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active and collaborative effort on the parts of both the therapist and the client.
Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs (or the needs of your child). We will collaboratively discuss the current situations in your life, your personal history related to your concerns, and other relevant information. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a treatment plan to evaluate. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term or longer-term dependent upon the primary focus of therapy. It is most common to schedule regular sessions (once a week) and check-in regarding progress on a regular basis.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I am currently accepting Aetna insurance. If you do not have Aetna insurance, I am able to provide you with a invoice to submit to your insurance carrier as an out-of-network provider for reimbursement of services. Please check with your insurance carrier to inquire about mental health coverage and possible reimbursement as some carriers do not offer reimbursement for out-of-network providers. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. Note that state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations: * Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources. * If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Michelle M. Carcel, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist (PSY 27241) Office: 7590 Fay Avenue, Suite 501 La Jolla, California 92037 Main: 858-337-5258 Fax: 858-430-3552