If you’re interested in therapy, but you have some questions that are keeping you from taking that first step, maybe some of the common questions and answers below will be helpful to you.
What, exactly, is therapy?
Therapy is a term that generally means using specific techniques to improve a person’s mental health functioning. It is often used synonymously with psychotherapy, which is the application of techniques aimed at improving a person’s mental, social, and interpersonal functioning. Beyond this technical definition, therapy is a process of bettering one’s self. Many people seek improvement in their relationships, interpersonal dynamics, and their emotional functioning, and having a place to do that in a non-judgmental, compassionate, confidential, and neutral environment has proven quite helpful for many.
What is the difference between therapy and counseling?
In general, one difference is that counseling may be a relatively brief treatment which is focused most on behavior change. Therapy, on the other hand, is generally a longer treatment which involves gaining insight into chronic emotional problems causing distress and exploring thought processes and the way in which we exist in the world. Often, there is an overlap between counseling and therapy. The important piece is knowing that your therapist is trained, holds a degree, and is licensed, who therefore can legally practice counseling and/or therapy in Texas.
Some people think I should be able to handle my struggles on my own, and that something must really be wrong with me if I need therapy.
Unfortunately, mental health struggles tend to come with a stigma. The good news is that therapy is a very wise act of self-care that does not mean you are unable to handle your life or circumstances. It is truly no different than making an appointment with your primary care physician if you came down with an illness that required intervention. Further, if your doctor informed you that you had a physical diagnosis that required ongoing treatment, typically, that treatment isn’t refused. Reaching out to a professional for challenges you are facing seems logical to most, and mental health challenges are no different.
Will anyone else know what is discussed in therapy?
Only if you give explicit permission. Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of the therapy process. In order for therapy to be successful, it requires a high degree of trust, and Waypoints Counseling places significant importance on confidentiality. Everything that occurs in the therapy room is confidential however, there are three exceptions: if you share that you intend to hurt yourself or someone else, if you disclose that someone is hurting you, or if your therapist is subpoenaed by a judge in court. Therapists are legally mandated to report suspected or alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of children and vulnerable adults. Lastly, if you choose to have anyone else be involved in your therapy process, there is a document to complete that gives your therapist permission to speak with that person or agency.
How do I know if therapy is a good option for me?
Commitment to personal changes for increased life satisfaction is the cornerstone for a successful therapy experience. Many people can benefit from therapy – people who believe that they suffer from a “mental illness” or have a serious “psychological problem” initiate therapy as well as those who are seeking a process of gaining insight.
How do I know if I’ve found the right therapist?
The relationship between you and your therapist is crucial to the effectiveness of the therapeutic process, and choosing a therapist is certainly a very personal decision. The only way to truly know if your therapist is the right fit for you is to book an initial consultation and ask yourself some common questions. “Do I feel safe and comfortable in this room with this person? Does it seem like they ‘get’ me?” You can also ask yourself these questions during a free 20-minute phone consult call before you book the initial consultation.
What can I expect at the initial consultation?
The initial consultation is the therapist’s opportunity to learn about the things that are troubling to you and make recommendations regarding what might be helpful. Additionally, this is also a diagnostic interview, so a great deal of historical information is gathered, and an inventory of symptoms is taken. At Waypoints Counseling, it is important to have a clear diagnostic picture of what is going on, so that the appropriate treatment can be applied to help alleviate the symptoms or emotional distress. You can also expect that what occurs in the therapy room stays in the therapy room. Confidentiality is a must and is extremely important to Waypoints Counseling. There are limits, however, and generally these limits include any disclosure to harm yourself or others, if you report that someone is harming you, or if your therapist is subpoenaed by a judge.
After the initial consultation, what comes next?
If therapy is recommended at the initial consultation, typically a plan is collaboratively developed between you and your therapist, determining what you would like to see accomplished through the therapy process. Reviews will occur periodically during the course of treatment to determine how much success is being made, are we on the right track, have things changed, or even to determine that the goal has been met.
Why isn’t the initial consultation free?
Waypoints Counseling believes that the therapeutic relationship that develops during this time is extremely important. This is a place where you are being brave and courageous, and your therapist is working to build rapport with you as well as identify important details that will guide treatment if it is recommended. Additionally, this is also a diagnostic interview, so a great deal of historical information is gathered, and an inventory of symptoms is taken. At Waypoints Counseling, it is important to have a clear diagnostic picture of what is going on, so that the appropriate treatment can be applied and you can experience relief and healing.
Therapy seems expensive. How do I know if it’s worth it?
By choosing to engage in therapy, you are also choosing to make an investment in yourself and becoming aware of any negative patterns that are happening. By making this investment, you will likely become more capable of practicing new and more adaptive thoughts and behaviors that lead to feeling better overall. You will likely see benefit in how you feel, improvement in your relationships, your work and even your health.
Does Waypoints Counseling accept insurance?
Yes! Waypoints Counseling accepts the following insurances: BCBS PPO, BCBS HMO (Magellan), United/Optum, Cigna, Amerigroup (Medicaid), Superior HealthPlans (Medicaid), FirstCare Star Medicaid, FirstCare Health Plans, Group and Pension Administrators/Molina Health Care, and Medicare. If your insurance is not accepted at this clinic, you can be provided with a document to submit to your insurance for possible full or partial reimbursement for out-of-network therapy benefits. A sliding fee scale is also available for those who qualify.
My insurance only covers a few sessions. Can I make progress in a short period of time
Yes. There are often times when insurance plans will allow a prescribed number of sessions. In those cases, Waypoints Counseling will employ Solution-Focused treatment which would focus on how to make changes in a short amount of time to meet the goal you have for yourself.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you do not have insurance and are unable to afford the session fees, Waypoints Counseling does offer a sliding fee scale. Eligibility for this can be determined prior to the initial consultation so that you incur no scary financial surprises. Session fees are listed here as well.
Is therapy like it is in Hollywood? Will it consist of years and years of just talking on the sofa?
Therapy tends to look different based on each person’s individual needs. Therapy isn’t something that has to last a lifetime, particularly if you are looking for resolution for something quite specific. However, there are some people that have experienced difficult things throughout their lives and resolving all of those and finding healing can definitely take some time. Some people feel that ongoing therapy is a matter of self-care and choose to continue the practice of self-improvement or a source of empowerment. A key thing to remember is that people grow, heal and change at their own individual pace. Beyond this, it also depends on how you view therapy. Do you view it from an illness model, similar to how you view your physician? Perhaps you are interested in therapy just until the unpleasant symptoms are relieved. Or, do you view it from a wellness model, similar to continuing good, healthy habits like going to the gym? This may look like working to prevent problems in the future, realizing your potential, or maybe making a good life better. There is no right or wrong, and everyone’s needs are different.
How long are the sessions?
Therapy sessions are typically 55 minutes in length and usually occur on a weekly basis in the beginning. This is true for individual and family therapy sessions. As progress is made in therapy, the frequency of sessions tends to reduce.
Do you offer video sessions?
Through audio and video over the internet, you can meet with me on-the-go from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device (iOS or Android) – it’s your choice! Telehealth allows us to connect anywhere with secure and convenient appointments that save you time and hassle. There’s no need to deal with traffic when you can schedule and attend your appointments directly from a laptop or mobile device. Telehealth appointments are available for select services.
Do you prescribe medication?
Waypoints Counseling does not have psychiatrists on staff, therefore no medication is prescribed at this clinic. In some cases, medication therapy can be a helpful adjunct to the therapy process. If your therapist believes that this may be the case, your therapist will refer you to an appropriate provider. If you are already prescribed medication, your therapist may want to coordinate care with that provider, which can only occur if you sign a release of information giving your therapist permission to do so.
How do I start therapy?
It’s simple! Contact the clinic at 806-429-8088 or you may also book your initial consultation online from our website here. We are proud to be a paperless office, so most of the paperwork necessary for the first appointment can be completed on the Client Portal, a link to which will be emailed to you upon scheduling your first appointment. You also can download the initial consultation packet here and bring the documents with you to your first scheduled appointment. Please have your insurance information handy at that time.