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Common Questions

How can therapy help me?
 
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my 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 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?
 
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
 
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?
 
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.
 
However, 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 threated to harm another person.
 
What does teletherapy mean? 
 
Teletherapy, or telemental health, is a distance counseling setting utilizing telephone and/or video conferencing. The individual would have to have a private space and reliable technology to engage in teletherapy services. Appointments are scheduled and not on demand, much like in office appointments. Teletherapy appointment times may be more flexible at times, and may allow more more consistent engagement in therapy when schedules are difficult to manage for the individual to meet in office. Sometimes distance is a factor, meriting teletherapy. Please contact me for more information. 
 
Which is the best choice: teletherapy or in office therapy?
 
Depending on individual diagnosis, type of treatment chosen, severity of condition, availability of services, and other individual needs, either service may be appropriate. Individuals who are experiencing severe agorophobia could benefit from teletherapy. However, EMDR is a type of treatment that will require in office sessions, therefore teletherapy would not be recommended or appropriate. These are only examples of circumstances that might give some insight into the appropriateness of in office or teletherapy. This question is best answered after the initial appointment. 

What is HeartMath?

HeartMath is a unique system of rigorous scientific research, validated techniques, leading-edge products and programs, and advanced technologies for people interested in personal development and improved emotional, mental and physical health. HeartMath is internationally recognized for our practical solutions to transform the stress of change and uncertainty, and bring coherence and renewed energy into people’s lives.

Who uses HeartMath?

The HeartMath system of techniques and technologies is being used by hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world, thousands of health professionals, as well as hundreds of companies, health care systems, educational institutions, and government agencies. In our work with organizations we deliver programs for all levels of staff from leadership training, to management teams to employee wellness and professional development programs. Train the trainer programs are commonly implemented to expand the HeartMath program rapidly through an organization. For consumers and health professionals we offer a variety of products and programs, including the emWave® interactive technology products, one-on-one coaching sessions, phone-based programs, e-training programs, e-booklets and audio programs, and books. In our educational trainings (provided by the Institute of HeartMath) we work with educators, students, and administrative staff. The Institute also certifies educators so that they can integrate HeartMath programs into their curricula for students.

Is HeartMath’s research peer reviewed?

All major scientific journals have a rigorous peer review process and HeartMath’s research has been published in a number of scientific peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Cardiology,Stress MedicinePreventive CardiologyJournal of the American College of CardiologyIntegrative Physiological and Behavioral Science and Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

Why the word HeartMath?

Although the words “Heart” and “Math” are rarely used together, Doc Childre, founder of the Institute of HeartMath and HeartMath LLC , felt that this combination reflected the two essential aspects of our work. Heart—The word heart has meaning to almost everyone. When we think of heart, we think not only of the physical heart but also qualities such as wisdom, love, compassion, courage and strength — the higher aspects of all human beings. Math—Math is commonly understood as a comprehensive system of equations, formulas and ways of understanding the world. In the context of HeartMath, the word math refers to the stepping stones or the nuts and bolts for systematically unfolding the qualities of the heart. It also refers to physiological and psychological equations for accessing and developing the incredible potential of the heart. The term HeartMath represents the importance of both aspects in our exploration of the heart.

What’s unique about HeartMath approach to stress?

The HeartMath approach is based on extensive research into the physiology of stress and emotions, and the importance of coherent communication between heart and brain. Our techniques, technologies and programs are scientifically validated and provide sustainable results. HeartMath’s approach goes beyond traditional methods of stress reduction by incorporating two key elements: the heart and positive emotions. In the early ‘90s, HeartMath researchers identified a distinct pattern in the heart rhythms that is characteristic of positive emotions like appreciation, care, love, and compassion. These patterns reflect physiological coherence – when the heart, brain, and nervous system are working in harmony. Emotions move faster than thought and are registered by the heart before the brain. The heart pulses out a rhythmic pattern that reflects our emotional state, transmitting this information to the brain, rest of the body, and even into the environment – via an electromagnetic field. Based on these discoveries, HeartMath created a set of positive-emotion-focused techniques that foster a state of coherence. These techniques have been proven to increase heart rhythm coherence and reduce stress and anxiety. There have been dozens of studies on these practices demonstrating the profoundly beneficial effects on the heart, cognitive functions, and overall health. HeartMath research demonstrates that we have more power over our emotional experiences than once thought.

 

Isn’t HeartMath just about relaxation and breathing techniques?

While relaxation and breathing techniques are valuable methods to achieve greater balance and calm, HeartMath’s approach goes considerably further. Our techniques do incorporate the physiological benefits of relaxation and many of the HeartMath techniques also include a step in which you are instructed to do heart-focused breathing. However, use of the HeartMath emotional shifting techniques and technologies lead to a very different physiological and psychological state than relaxation or rhythmic breathing. We call this state coherence. This emotional shift is a key element of the techniques’ effectiveness and produces a wider array of benefits than those typically achieved through breathing alone. These include deeper perceptual and emotional changes, increased access to intuition and creativity, improvements in cognitive performance, and favorable changes in hormonal balance. Many individuals believe that if they could just learn to relax then they would be healthier and happier. Relaxation and breathing techniques are important and beneficial in that they calm the system and temporarily draw attention away from distressing feelings and reduce physiological arousal. In fact, breathing at the appropriate rhythm facilitates an emotional shift and for this reason, heart focused breathing is the first step in a number of the emotional refocusing and restructuring techniques developed at HeartMath. While the breathing step is helpful for calming, sustaining shifts in engrained attitudes and strong emotions takes much more than that. This is why we focus on teaching people how to increasingly shift the significance out of negative emotions and build replacement attitudes. This is done by learning to engage the power of the heart’s intent. The important part of the process is learning how to shift attention to the heart and activate a positive feeling or attitude replacement. That’s why the HeartMath techniques are designed to help people shift the feelings, not just the thoughts. Once the feelings shift, then the thoughts automatically become more positive. Another important distinction is this: the majority of relaxation practices are essentially disassociation techniques. Scientifically speaking these disassociated states are characterized by an overall reduction in autonomic outflow which results in a state specific reduction in heart rate variability and a shift in autonomic nervous system balance towards increased parasympathetic activity (the relaxation response). In other words, disassociating calms you down. While the ability to relax is an important skill, relaxation typically decreases performance. By contrast, the HeartMath techniques focus on maintaining internal awareness and self-activated positive emotional shifts which leads to increased coherence. Coherence is associated with an energetic calm and increases cognitive performance – i.e.: improved memory, discrimination, focus, reaction times, etc. This is why Olympic athletes, medical professionals, soldiers, police officers and business executives find our approach beneficial. Their professions demand that they stay attentive and energized yet balanced and calm.

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