What Is Therapy? Why Is It Helpful?

Therapy (or counseling) is a relationship separate from other parts of your life. It’s an opportunity to be in supportive and  thoughtful conversations about topics important to you. It’s an intentional way of talking and exploring together. It’s a partnership between a person’s knowledge and expertise about their own life and a therapist’s offering of meaningful questions and conversation.

In a world where life is busy and schedules are full, it can be challenging to find time to focus on ourselves. Therapy offers a way to come together with another person who brings respectful listening, meaningful questions, and thoughtful conversation. These ways of being together allow us to see ourselves and our lives with new perspectives freeing us to move toward more preferred experiences.

Who Comes To Therapy?

For most of us, we reach a time in our lives when the dreams we have for ourselves don’t match the life we are living. We believe a better experience of ourselves is waiting. At a crossroad, people often begin therapy when they are feeling stuck and frustrated and wanting change. Many people wonder if something has to be wrong to begin therapy. Beginning therapy doesn’t have to mean anything is wrong with you. It just means you want something different or more for your life and want to talk about how to move in those directions.

Sometimes a young person comes to therapy because their parents have made that decision. If that’s true for you, it’s okay to not be thrilled about meeting together. Some people are excited to begin conversations, others are not. While I support the choice your parents’ have made, I also support your right to talk about the parts of your life you’re interested in speaking about. This means I will respect your privacy and honor the spaces in your life you might not want to talk about as we get to know each other.

Is Our Time Together Confidential?

One of the most important aspects of therapy is the privacy of a therapy relationship. Your identity and our conversations together remain confidential unless you provide permission otherwise. Only with your permission can I speak about our relationship or our conversations. I believe every person deserves a sacred place to explore our lives and I take every effort to guard confidentiality with great integrity.

Because I’m a mandated reporter in our state, there are exceptions to confidentiality which I’m glad to discuss together. If I hear about the abuse of a child, an elderly person, or someone who is vulnerable through disability, I am required to report such abuse. I am also required to report concerns regarding safety should I hear information indicating intentions to harm yourself or someone else. At our first meeting together, I’ll be providing you with further information about confidentiality and I’m glad to answer any questions you might have in the meantime.

Why Therapy? I Have Great Friends.

We need our friends, but even the best of friends can’t always be everything to each other. Sometimes friends get burdened by certain conversations and relationships can become strained. Friends often mean well and want to be supportive but they aren’t educated or trained in ways that can be most helpful. When a friend knows they can’t be helpful or they don’t know what to say, they can feel overwhelmed and might even pull away. Having a relationship with a therapist can free up friends to enjoy themselves while getting greater support outside of that friendship. And since therapy is a confidential relationship, you never have to worry about conversations spreading to other friends.

Therapy vs. Consulting?

Therapy conversations are intended to discuss healthcare related topics, such as depression or anxiety. As such, therapy sessions are generally covered by insurance.

Sometimes therapy isn’t the kind of conversation needed or desired—but there are conversations we’d value having with a trusted confidant and source of counsel. Consulting (or coaching) conversations are intended to address topics outside of healthcare services, related to personal goals or relationship enhancement. Consultation conversations are ideal for parents seeking support in relationships with their adolescent or young adult daughters or for twenty-something women desiring coaching about dating relationships or professional identity.

Unlike therapy, consultation conversations are not be covered by insurance. During an initial phone conversation together, I’m glad to help you decide if therapy or consulting is best.

Is Consulting Confidential?

Yes, consultation conversations are confidential. As a professional consultant, our relationship and our conversations together remain private due to my policies and practices of ethics and integrity. Unlike therapy though, there is no healthcare information being exchanged so confidentiality and privilege laws do not apply in that regard. Rest assured, your privacy will always be honored and the information we discuss together will remain private and respected.

Because I’m a mandated reporter in Washington State, I am always obligated to report when minor children or vulnerable adults are being neglected or abused. I am also obligated to breech confidentiality in life endangering situations such as suicide or homicide. These policies apply to both therapy and consultation relationships.

Conversation Groups? Tell Me More.

We aren’t meant to travel alone. Groups are a confidential and fun place to be supported in the presence of others. Intended to be collaborative, the hope is to encourage one another (and learn from one another) in shared experiences. Group conversations are often inspired by books incorporated into our time together.

Group participants are asked to honor other members by a 6-week minimum commitment. For more information about current groups, please refer to services offered or contact me for more information.