Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need therapy?
How do we know when to ask for help? Everyone experiences periods of challenge in life – difficult situations at home or work, life events, couples’ problems, feeling “blue” or anxious. Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge what you’re feeling isn’t really normal fluctuations in mood anymore, but has become more chronic depression or anxiety. Most people try to take care of these feelings on their own at first, or turn to friends or family. But it doesn’t always feel right to talk about everything with people in your life. Sometimes it can feel like you have tried everything, and things still aren’t getting better. Sometimes it’s hard to even understand why you feel the way you do. At Westside Psychotherapy, we find at certain times in life, everyone can benefit from talking to a caring, neutral person who knows a lot about how people think and feel. Deciding to seek help is a sign of courage and strength, not weakness!
How will therapy help?
A trusting relationship with a professional who is expert in understanding how people feel, think, and act can help you clarify your feelings, find answers to your questions, and develop a plan to work through your challenges. Talking about your concerns with a completely neutral individual who has no agenda for you can be enormously helpful. It is our goal to help you make decisions and take actions that are right for you. We will help you figure out what those are.
How long will it take?
The duration of therapy is impossible to predict. Sometimes things change very quickly. Sometimes it takes a long time. After the first session, it is typical to make a plan to clarify your goals in therapy, and determine session frequency. At regular intervals, you and your therapist will evaluate how things are going, and update your treatment plan.
How do I pick a therapist?
The fit between you and your therapist is the most important variable determining the effectiveness of therapy. Within 3-4 sessions, you should feel comfortable, listened to, and challenged. At Westside Psychotherapy, we understand how important this is; we will never be offended if you want to make a change. Sometimes it is helpful to start out by talking to a number of therapists to see how it feels to interact with different people.
What kind of therapy do I need?
Cognitive Behavioral? Freudian Analysis? Solution Focused? Extensive research has shown that the effectiveness of therapy does not correlate with the approach or theoretical orientation. Therapy is a very personal matter, and you do best to choose a therapist whose approach feels comfortable to you. The match between you and the therapist is very important; what school of therapy they trained in is not. Every therapist uses a different approach and style suited to who they are and how they think about therapy. We have therapists who work with CBT, DBT, EMDR, and insight oriented approaches.
If I schedule an appointment on line, what Happens next?
Once you request an appointment from the website, you will receive a confirmation email. The therapist you have chosen will contact you within 24 hours via email or phone, according to the preference you selected on the form. At that time, you can address specific questions and schedule an initial meeting.
What happens in my first appointment?
During the first meeting, it is important that you assess the interaction to evaluate whether the therapist you see feels like the right fit for you. The hour will be spent discussing what brings you into therapy, answering your questions, and gathering enough information to be able to give you a first impression of what it would be like to work with that professional. Ideally you will feel safe enough to talk about personal matters, feel understood, and feel challenged to think about or react to things in a different way. You are hiring for an important position;, it is crucial that you be active in choosing your therapist.
Will my insurance cover therapy?
Clinicians at Westside Psychotherapy accept all national insurance plans. It is important that you verify coverage before you come in. It is your responsibility to be sure your therapist is on your plan, and to know about your co-pays and deductibles. If you are using insurance, it usually takes 4-6 weeks for payments to begin to process. We suggest you pay co-pays and deductibles as you go, to prevent building up a large bill. Your therapist will be happy to estimate your direct costs for you. Local HMO insurance companies do not contract with any of our practitioners. If you prefer not to use insurance to avoid diagnosis, or to preserve complete confidentiality, we make the process as easy and manageable as possible. Payment is expected at each session.
Can I change appointments?
We require a minimum of 24 hours (one full business day) notice for cancellations. Sessions missed or cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be billed directly to you.
What about medication?
Medication for depression and/or anxiety can be an extremely helpful component of care. Westside Psychotherapy does not have an in-house prescriber. We do, however, work closely with a number of medical practitioners, and can assist you in finding one if you choose to explore the medication possibilities. Our philosophy is that in most cases, it is helpful to begin treatment without medication to see what can be accomplished with this modality alone, and to introduce other interventions as needed.