How can clinical psychotherapy help me?
A number of advantages are available by participating in clinical psychotherapy. Clinical psychologists offer evidence-based support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for psychological issues such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, Eating Disorders, body image issues, and creative blocks. Many people also find a clinical psychologist may be a tremendous asset in managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the tribulations of daily life. Clinical psychologists frame fresh perspectives on difficult problems or point clients in the direction of practical solutions. The assistance obtained from clinical psychotherapy depends on how well patients use the process and put into practice what is learned. Some of the advantages gleaned from clinical psychotherapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of self, goals, and values
- Developing skills for improving intimate and professional relationships
- Finding resolution of issues or concerns that led to seeking clinical psychotherapy
- Learning new ways of coping with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old dysfunctional behavior patterns and developing new adaptive ones
- Discovering new ways to transcend problems in familiar or marital relationships
- Improving self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need clinical psychotherapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone encounters challenging situations in life. While patients may have successfully navigated through difficulties faced in the past there is nothing shameful in soliciting extra support when needed. In fact clinical psychotherapy services are for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, which is something to be admired. The therapeutic process is based on patients who take responsibility by accepting where they are in life and whom make a commitment to change a problematic situation by obtaining clinical psychotherapy services. Clinical psychologists offer evidence-based long-lasting benefits and support, supplying patients the clinical tools necessary to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges they may experience throughout life.
Why do people go to clinical psychotherapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have a myriad of different motivations for choosing clinical psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, illness, bereavement) or may not be handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need evidence-based assistance that seeks to manage a range of other psychological issues such as low self-esteem, clinical depression, generalized anxiety, chronic pain, addiction and recovery, relationship problems, and spiritual conflicts. Clinical psychotherapy can help provide much needed encouragement and assistance with evidence-based skills to get through these encountered challenging periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more in depth about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In brief, people soliciting clinical psychotherapy services are usually ready to meet the challenges in their lives and in turn are ready to create adaptive change.
What is clinical psychotherapy like?
Since each person has different issues and goals clinical psychotherapy will be different depending on the individual. In general patients can expect to discuss current events occurring in their lives, their personal history relevant to intimate issues, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from previous clinical psychotherapy sessions. Depending on specific needs clinical psychotherapy can be short-term for a specific issue, longer-term to cope with more difficult patterns, or for a desire of greater personal development. In any such way it is common to schedule regular sessions with your clinical psychologist, most often in the form of weekly appointments.
It is important to understand that an individual will get better results from clinical psychotherapy if she or he actively participates in the therapeutic process. The ultimate purpose of clinical psychotherapy is to help patients apply what they learn in sessions to their lives. Therefore beyond the work patients do in clinical psychotherapy sessions their clinical psychologist may suggest some evidence-based activities that can be done outside of the regularly scheduled appointments to support the process; such as reading a pertinent book (bibliotherapy), journaling on specific topics, noting particular cognitions and behaviors, or taking committed action on their goals. People seeking clinical psychotherapy are often ready to make adaptive changes, be open to new perspectives, and take greater responsibility for their lives.
What about medication versus clinical psychotherapy?
It is well established through clinical research studies the long-term solution to cognitive behavioral and emotional problems and the suffering they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of only treating the symptom, clinical psychotherapy addresses the cause of distress and the behavior patterns that curb its progress. Patients can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative, holistic approach to wellness. Working in tandem with a psychiatrist a clinical psychologist can determine what the most conducive treatment is for patients, and in some cases a combination of medication and clinical psychotherapy may be the appropriate course of action.
How do I pay for clinical psychotherapy services with my healthcare insurance?
To determine if a patient has mental healthcare coverage through their insurance carrier, the first thing they can do is call and ask any questions she or he may have. Carefully checking into mental healthcare insurance coverage and being certain of all delivered benefits is essential in starting clinical psychology treatment on solid ground. Some helpful questions patients may ask an insurance healthcare representative are:
- What are my mental healthcare benefits?
- What is the mental healthcare coverage amount per clinical psychotherapy session?
- How many clinical psychotherapy sessions does my mental healthcare plan cover?
- How much does my insurance carrier pay for an in-network clinical psychologist?
- Is approval required from my primary care provider?
Does what we talk about in clinical psychotherapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components of clinical psychotherapy. Successful clinical psychotherapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter which is usually not discussed anywhere but the clinical psychologist's private office. Clinical psychologists always give patients a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement at the beginning of the first session, and a patient can expect what is discussed in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, patients may want their clinical psychologist to share information or give an update to someone on their healthcare team (Physician, Naturopath or Attorney), although by law clinical psychologists cannot release this privileged information without first obtaining patients written permission. Furthermore, California State law and the California Board of Psychology require clinical psychologists to maintain confidentiality except in the following reporting situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adolescents, dependent adults and seniors to the authorities, including Child Protection Services (CPS) and law enforcement agencies, based on information provided by the patient or collateral sources.
* If the clinical psychologist has reason to suspect the patient is seriously in danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm another person.