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Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people choose to come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological challenges, or problems with anxiety or depression, or a particular relationship or family struggle. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a separation or divorce, parenting concerns, a change in one's health status or that of a loved one, a loss of a loved one, a job loss or a  work or other life transition. Many seek the advice of a therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life stressors. Therapy can help address many types of issues including relationship concerns or conflict, attention deficit disorders, depression, anxiety, family conflict, grief, stress management, infertility issues, adoption concerns, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by creating greater self-awareness, enhancing self-esteem, working toward change in their lives and taking greater responsibility for one's own life and one's choices.

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, it takes courage and intelligence to seek professional 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 are 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 overcomes whatever challenges, struggles, or concerns you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship challenges or conflict, unresolved childhood issues, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, adoption concerns, personality disorders, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the stresses of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. 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:

  • 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 communication and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family, relationship, marriage or at work with co-workers, your boss or colleagues
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like? 

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around one hour. Sometimes in the first weeks or few months of therapy, it may be appropriate to meet more than once a week, if you are in a crisis situation. This will be discussed during the initial phase of treatment. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. 

During the initial phase of therapy with Ms. Balke, you and Ms. Balke will develop goals and create a plan together, so that you will have a clear idea whether your concerns are likely to be resolved with short term, solution focused therapy. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed during your therapy sessions and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective, you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work toward self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine what's best for you. 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.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • Discuss with me which insurance plans I currently accept. If you are covered by a plan that I do accept, I will bill your insurance company for you. You will only be responsible for paying your co-pay at the time of your appointment.
  • If you have out of network benefits, I will also bill your insurance carrier for you.
  • If you prefer that I call your insurance carrier for you, I am happy to inquire about your benefits for you. We can discuss this during your get acquainted telephone call.
  • You will be given a receipt if you wish to take your therapy as a tax deduction.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police and the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
  • The specific mandated and permitted exceptions to confidentiality will be discussed during your first counseling appointment.
    A happier life awaits you.                                           
    Call or email me today....Tele: 619.322.0681 or Email: [email protected].

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    I look forward to speaking with you to see if I can help with your specific situation.

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