What to Expect

Adult Services

A minimum of one session per week is typical in most instances; however, your therapist will recommend the frequency of therapy that is appropriate to you and your circumstances. Psychotherapy is often helpful to people who are in emotional distress or to those who wish to enrich functioning in everyday life. Goals can include a greater understanding of your personality and style of interpersonal relating, and achieving a greater sense of personal freedom through learning to cope with psychological symptoms rather than feeling controlled by them. Clients can also work to achieve an enhanced sense of identity, improved self-esteem, greater pleasure in love and work, and an increased capacity to experience and tolerate both pleasure and pain.

Factors that may increase the helpfulness of therapy include a willingness to be honest with yourself and with your therapist, a strong desire and motivation to improve your life, and individual effort in the therapeutic process.

Psychotherapy may involve risks as well. These may include recollection of unpleasant events that can arouse intense emotions of fear and anger. Feelings of discomfort, anxiety, sadness, frustration, loneliness, or helplessness may also be aroused, but frequently abate during the course of treatment. Persons with a significant other, such as a spouse, may also experience increased conflict and tension in that relationship as personal growth entails new ways of relating to others. As a result, adjustments in one's personal relationships are often required. While these adjustments can be difficult and painful, many people find the interpersonal rewards of change to be well worth the effort.

As physical conditions can contribute to or be the cause of psychological symptoms, your therapist may recommend a physical evaluation with a medical doctor. A referral to a psychiatrist for psychotropic medication may also be appropriate. In some cases, psychological testing may be recommended, as information gathered from this process can enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy.


Child and Adolescent Services

Psychotherapy for the child or adolescent typically begins with an in-depth, multi-session evaluation process that includes discussion of current concerns, as well as relevant past issues and experiences of the child. These matters are addressed over a span of 4-6 sessions. For example, the initial evaluation period may include 2 individual sessions with the child and 2 information gathering sessions with the primary caregiver(s).

Following the initial evaluation, a feedback session is scheduled with the caregiver(s) so that a preliminary plan for treatment can be proposed and discussed. During this session, goals for therapy, frequency of sessions, and criteria for assessing therapeutic effectiveness are typically established. If needed, the possibility of additional referrals, such as medical or speech and language evaluations, will be addressed. Once weekly sessions with the child is the norm, with a minimum of one additional meeting per month with the parent(s). Parent work is intended to improve parent-child relationships through enhanced understanding of the caregiver’s upbringing and how this experience in turn impacts the parent’s relationships with their own children. Practical parenting skills are also discussed.

Please note that while this treatment approach is typical, it is not used in every case. The theoretical approach of the treating therapist along with the particular needs of your child may necessitate deviations from this protocol.