An Interview as Your First Step in Choosing a Therapist:
Your ability to feel better depends upon building trust with me as your therapist. Trust involves reliability, competence, acceptance, openness, honesty.
That’s why an interview is important. It’s an opportunity for you to answer this question:
“Is Susan someone I could put enough trust in to talk honestly about the things that are bothering me the most?”
It also provides me with an opportunity to decide if I can offer you effective therapy.
You will bring a completed Client Intake Form (PDF & Word Doc) with you to the first therapy session. The Client Intake Form facilitates our discussion of your life experiences. Our first session focuses on you familiarizing me with the important things about your life now (e.g. your family, friends, religion, career, recent traumatic events, health concerns, etc.) and those specific things that most concern you. I will also ask you about your past life (e.g. kind of family you grew up in, past relationships, education, past traumas, etc.) so I have a context for understanding what is bothering you in the present. In addition, we will go over paperwork that spells out the mutual expectations and responsibilities of our contract to work together.
Parents of teens participate with the client in the first therapy session.
One of the key parts to therapy is the confidentiality agreement between us. Whatever information you choose to share with me, I hold in strict confidence. There are exceptions, however, which include client suicidality, viable threats made by the client against another person, and reports of child or elder abuse. The details of confidentiality are presented in written form, discussed and signed at the first session.
I work closely with parents of teens regarding progress in therapy. Parents often participate directly in therapy sessions. I negotiate with teens around the disclosure of sensitive material to parents.
How Therapy Works:
Your thoughts and emotions direct your actions. You are seeking therapy because your thoughts, feelings and actions are robbing you of the kind of life you want and deserve. You are likely feeling anxious, depressed, irritable. My approach is to help you take a look at how you view yourself, others and the world around you. Together we will uncover your habitual patterns of thought. We will discover how your belief system interacts with your emotions and how both effect your actions. You will become aware of how your strong emotions may result in acting out in ways that get you in trouble. Once you better understand what’s going on, you can make healthier choices about how you act in response to challenging people and situations. Learning to better manage the expression of strong emotions can lead to a more calm less stressful life with family, friends and colleagues.
A word about Gentle Reprocessing:
This is a particularly effective approach to help clients resolve past traumas. It involves the gradual release of feelings, thoughts, body sensations surrounding past traumas in a safe controlled environment built through guided visualizations. It is also effective for dissolving phobias and addressing a host of other troubling life issues.
Many of my clients are self-pay. I do accept some insurances.