How can therapy help me?
What is different about treating OCD compared to other mental health concerns?
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
What is Therapy like?
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
Will my personal health information be kept confidential?
How much with therapy cost? Do you take insurance?
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, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that psychotherapy can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. As a clinical psychologist, I see many people with diagnosable mental health concerns for which researchers have developed evidence-based treatment. 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:
- Understanding how your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings interrelate
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Identifying problematic patterns of how you think and talk to yourself
- 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
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
OCD is one disorder that benefits from a very specific type of treatment--Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)--that few therapists conduct. Even otherwise well-trained and well-meaning therapists may do more harm than good when it comes to treating OCD. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best treatments available today, according to research; but there are specific ways in which it can and cannot be used helpfully in the treatment of OCD. The core skill sufferers with OCD must learn through therapy and practice is to tolerate uncertainty. This means helpful therapy will gradually and purposefully help an OCD sufferer practice facing uncomfortable, uncertain situations. The goal of ERP is habituation--or a decrease in the obsessive compulsive thoughts and feelings that arise in a given situation. While a good CBT therapist might provide reassurance to non-OCD sufferers or help them develop certain cognitive skills aimed at reducing anxiety, this approach is often unhelpful and inappropriate in treating OCD. Cognitive skills that might help anxious individuals who do not have OCD can become safety signals, reassurance cues, or additional compulsions for OCD-sufferers. If you've been in therapy for OCD before and you feel like it has not worked, it may be due to something like this. Please take heart--there is hope if you are willing to make the commitment and do the hard work of ERP.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For OCD specifically, research tells us that there is a biological component of the disorder as well as a learning component. While medication may help with the underlying neurochemical processes and associated sensitivities that are the biological basis of OCD, it will not undo the learning that has taken place through a person engaging in compulsions after experiencing intrusive thoughts. This is where therapy can help!
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.
There are legal and ethical limits to confidentiality, however. State and federal law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- When there is suspected or reported past or present abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, or elders, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities (i.e., Department of Child & Family Services &/or law enforcement) immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do
not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.
- When a judge has issued a subpoena for records or another entity with legal authority (e.g., FBI investigations under the Patriot Act) mandates the release of records.
Dr. Martinez is not in-network with any insurance providers at this time. She can provide you with a detailed bill including all the necessary information and service codes that insurance providers require for reimbursement to you of any out-of-network coverage offered by your plan. The cost of treatment with Dr. Martinez is as follows:
- Intake assessment (90 min-2 hrs): $250
- Individual therapy (50-60 min): $170
- Extended therapy (beyond 60 min): $170/hr
- Travel to/from home/school/community sessions: $170/hr
- Extensive phone calls or paperwork (including disability paperwork) beyond 15 min: $170/hr