Is therapy only for one person?

Therapy can be for individuals, families, couples, and other groups as well. We strive to offer high-quality therapy, tailored to meet your specific needs so we may adjust sessions as you and your therapist see fit.

We will never force you to talk to someone or bring additional people into treatment, but if is something you would be interested in doing, we can absolutely accommodate that!  Remember: Therapy is all about you and getting you back to living the life you want!

Couples counseling or marriage counseling can be done in conjunction with individual sessions.  So if you are having trouble in a relationship, we want to work with you and your partner! Sometimes during couples’ sessions, individual issues surface that may need a bit more attention and we can set up additional time to do so. If someone calls in for couples sessions we will usually start the process by having the couple come in together and then doing one individual session each before delving into couples work.

Family counseling is another option if the issues spread past your relationship with your partner. If you would like to improve your communication and cohesion as a family, we can see the entire family all at once or break things into smaller subgroups! We also offer help with co-parenting during and after divorce!

Sometimes people begin counseling by themselves and find that it would be helpful to have important people join them for a variety of reasons. Some of these can be to work on short-term relationship issues, helping the loved one understand them more, or just to give a second perspective on an issue.

When we work with children, especially very young kids, we often pull parents into sessions to teach new parenting interventions, help them understand why a child is acting a certain way or just to get a parent point of view on what to work on with the child. Teens typically enjoy their independence. We will provide parent updates as needed. The age of consent for mental health in PA is 14 years of age.

What happens during child play therapy?

When young children come to our office they don’t always have the words to tell their therapist how they feel. Play therapy is used to help the child feel safe and comfortable talking about concerns or emotions they are struggling with. Different interventions will be used to change the child’s awareness and learn more about emotions and how to discuss what they are feeling. The child will feel empowered and connected with the therapist through play.

Typically it takes several sessions before the child warms up to the therapist. Each session will be anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the child and their needs. When the presenting issues are under control, the termination process will begin. This is a slow step-down process that will involve decreased frequency of visits. This needs to be done very thoughtfully as the child may not understand why they are being asked to leave this new safe place. This will also help with any regression of symptoms.

The therapist will work with the child, the parents, siblings, and others as needed. Legal parents/guardians are consulted frequently throughout a child’s play therapy and frequently involved in play sessions when this seems therapeutically appropriate.  However, the privacy and confidentiality of a child or teen are still carefully respected so exactly what a child says or does is not disclosed to anyone.  The importance of this is discussed in detail at the beginning of treatment. Family counseling may be recommended along with teaching the parents new skills to approach managing their child’s behavior or understanding what is happening emotionally with the child.

How often will I go to therapy?

Usually, therapy is conducted once a week for about an hour each session, but this depends on your needs.  You and your therapist will discuss your treatment and make a plan together. Some issues are short-term and due to a specific cause. These issues can be successfully managed with solution focused therapy which can take a few weeks to a couple months.

Other times, we start working on a specific issue in treatment that seems superficial, and then we discover some pretty deep links to the past. When that happens, it may extend treatment a little longer. We will check in with you many times throughout treatment to determine how you are progressing and what steps to make next. Often we will step down to every other week and then monthly before discharging from treatment.

We will work with you on step down plans that will set you up for success! If you ever leave treatment but find you would like to return to your therapist in the future, we can get you started again too! Some of our patients come back every so often to be sure they are on track or even just drop us a note in celebration of a victory or milestone. Remember, your care is paramount here! We want you to be able to succeed in life and live it to the fullest, not stay in our offices forever!

How long does therapy last?

The length of therapy will depend on your needs, the treatment plan, and your discussion with your therapist. We develop step down plans that can take as long as necessary so that you are able to test out your newly learned skills and feel confident in your growth before fully terminating sessions. Sometimes insurance rules dictate how many sessions are covered under your policy (although most will allow you to pay out-of-pocket after these have been exhausted) so it is good to know what your policy covers.

Will my insurance cover therapy?

Insurance may cover therapy or may not.  Sometimes insurance will cover just a few sessions and you may also have an annual deductible or a coinsurance amount or copayment per session.

A deductible is the amount of money an insurance plan requires you to pay before the plan will cover things. Some companies have individual deductibles or family deductibles and every plan offers something different so be sure to contact your company for detailed information on this.

Copays and coinsurance payments will begin after the plan deductible is met.  Copayments are fixed amounts you will pay per service. These can differ between insurance plans and even between services. Coinsurance is typically a percentage that you pay as a shared cost per service.

It is important to have as much information possible so you can best plan the financial arrangements. When you call or email us to schedule an appointment we can assist you with insurance benefits information, but sometimes it is not fully accurate. It is best to contact your insurance yourself too and double or triple check the coverage. Also be aware of when your policy end dates are as some companies will change copays or deductible amount annually. It is important to know what your plan covers as anything not paid by insurance may become your financial responsibility.

What can you expect at the first appointment?

When you first arrive at our office, just come on in and have a seat! We have a waiting area at both locations so there is no need to knock! Your therapist will greet you personally in the waiting room and will review relevant paperwork.  You can help by bringing your insurance ID card and intake paperwork which we send to you in your confirmation email.  The forms ask for information on your personal and family history. This helps us paint a better picture of what is affecting your life currently and may show us other places to explore in terms of family dynamics, learned behaviors and more importantly your personal safety.

We will also go over our consent to treatment document. This will review policies and procedures that pertain to your treatment such as confidentiality, what we do with your protected health information, how to best communicate with us and what our charges are for specific services.

Your therapist will help you feel comfortable and answer any questions you may have. Since each therapist at our office is independent (we are not an agency or company) your first appointment experience will vary slightly from therapist to therapist.  You can always ask questions in advance, of course, about what to expect. Feel free to take your time and ease into this therapeutic relationship. Don’t worry about saying things to embarrass or offend us! We are highly trained and have a strong skill set that allows us to hear difficult things.  Our job is to help you heal as fast and effectively as possible.

I am divorced and feel my child will benefit from therapy. How does this work?

In order for a child to be seen BOTH parents who have LEGAL custody must sign an authorization to treat.  If possible, all parents the child sees or has access to should have contact with the therapist in order to facilitate the best therapeutic outcome. Your therapist can discuss this with you further at the initial session. We have several blog posts that examine this in more detail!

Can I ask questions before I make an appointment?

Certainly!  In fact, each individual therapist will encourage everyone to be absolutely certain they have chosen the right therapist for themselves and know there may be many questions to ask. We are here for you! No question is offensive, too difficult, silly, or “stupid”! We are highly trained and experienced therapists. Our utmost goal is to facilitate a relationship where you feel safe and supported so that you can heal and get on with your life!

When a teenager comes to therapy what happens?

A teen is assumed to deserve the same respect and privacy as anyone.  All legal parents/guardians must authorize treatment but what a child/teen says in therapy is kept private (except for a few circumstances that the law requires). Therapy does, however, try to provide tools for teens to help them communicate in the best ways possible with their support family/friend systems. Be aware that the age of consent for mental health is 14 in Pennsylvania.

How will I know when it is time to stop therapy?

Each person’s needs are very individualized.  This is a very good question to ask your own therapist! It is very important not to end therapy prematurely. Sometimes other issues such as a busy schedule or cost of treatment will lead people to terminate therapy prematurely. Be sure to talk about these concerns with your therapist as we may be able to work with you on adjusting things to meet your needs. When you do decide to end treatment, you should feel a sense of confidence and strength that you can manage the challenges of life and emotional concerns. If you do find yourself needing or wanting to return to treatment for any reason in the future, that door will always be open!

How can therapy help you and your loved ones?

People have thoughts, beliefs, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors.  Each therapist focuses on these as it suits your needs.  By learning more about yourself you can have more ability to make choices which enrich your life and stop doing things which make you angry, confused, afraid, or sad.  Your therapist may also ask you about any physical complaints and/or illness that may affect or even cause mental and emotional issues.  Consultation (with your permission) with your doctor may be recommended in order for your therapist to know how to best help.