Therapy looks different for everyone. We take a personalized approach to helping each person heal, but there are some common threads that run through our treatments.
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Do I Need Therapy?
People access therapy at all different times in their life, for all different reasons. We specialize in helping people navigate really hard times in their lives and start to rebuild after a loss. There are many different signs that may indicate that therapy would be beneficial for you.
For example, you may feel shocked or numb. Perhaps you’re feeling helpless or intensely angry. Maybe you feel like you’re at the bottom of a black hole and you don’t know how to climb out. It could be that you’re obsessing over a situation and replaying it in your mind, over and over again. You could be feeling completely overwhelmed, or a whole range of other emotions.
All of these are completely normal. We’re here to help you process what happened and give you the tools you need to get back on your feet so you can take positive steps forward.
What Does a Therapist Do?
Therapists are here to help you heal and give you hope for a better future. There are a few different ways they can do this, but they all center around helping you understand yourself.
Therapists provide a judgement-free space for you to feel whatever you are feeling. You can talk about whatever is on your mind and know that it’s okay. They will provide support and teach you problem-solving skills and coping strategies that will help you identify triggers, manage symptoms, improve communication skills, and boost your self-confidence. This is helpful when it comes to managing any major life transition, not just when it comes to processing grief and trauma.
How Can Therapy Help Me?
Therapy can help you if you are ready to move forward with your life. It will help you process what happened, understand why you feel the way you feel, accept it, and move forward.
Some of the benefits include:
- Learning to better understand yourself and what you want from your life.
- Learning new ways to cope with challenging situations and solve problems.
- Finding resolutions to the concerns that made you seek out therapy.
- Changing unhelpful old behavior patterns into helpful new ones.
- Learning how to better manage the relationships in your life.
- Helping you heal and giving you hope.
- And much more.
Many people who come to the Center for Grief and Trauma say they don’t know why they’re here because they can usually manage their own problems. That’s totally normal. Everyone goes through difficult times in life and sometimes they are easier to manage than others.
Seeking help simple shows that you are self-aware enough to know when you need a helping hand. It provides tools and strategies that will improve your life for many years to come.
What Happens in a Therapy Session?
Every person is different, every therapist is different, and every therapy session is different. It depends on the issues you’re working on and your goal for each appointment.
The two main modalities we offer are talk therapy and art therapy.
- Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is where you sit in your therapist’s office and discuss your concerns. Once the issues are identified, your therapist may ask thought-provoking questions to help you better understand what happened and why or explain some strategies that may help you process or manage the issue.
- Art therapy is something we get a lot of questions about, so we have a dedicated FAQ for this below. It’s a wonderful way to explore emotions.
Generally speaking, you can expect to talk to your therapist about what happened, relevant personal history that may help explain your feelings towards it, and any progress made since the last session. You may be working on long-term or short-term goals. It will also depend whether you attend your appointment as an individual, or as a couple, family, or group.
To summarize, therapy sessions can go in any direction you with them to go.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a technique that uses creative expression to explore emotions. It can help you express things you don’t know how to put into words, which can help you develop self-awareness, identify the root issues that are troubling you, and cope with difficult feelings.
This technique encompasses everything from drawing to painting, coloring, sculpting, collage, and even dance (and you don’t have to have any creative talent). As you are creating, your therapist will talk to you about what you’re doing and why. This will help them look for any themes that emerge to figure out how they can best help you achieve your goals.
Am I Grieving Wrong?
Grief is a highly individualized process. Everyone experiences it differently, based on what happened, the circumstances, their personality, their values and beliefs, and many other factors. Whatever you are feeling is totally normal, whether you’re shaking with rage, feeling completely numb, or anything in between. It’s okay! Our professional team is here to help you process what happened and develop coping strategies so that you can start feeling like yourself again.
What Defines Trauma?
Trauma is a response to an event that causes physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual harm. Traumatic events can come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re very clear, like an accident, an assault, or a natural disaster. Other times, the root cause is not as obvious.
It’s very common to feel a range of emotions after a traumatic event, which can include shock, denial, anger, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and more. You may find yourself experiencing mood swings, flashbacks, headaches, and nausea. It might be putting strain on your relationships and affecting your ability to function when it comes to daily activities like work or personal care.
Everyone processes trauma differently and there’s no right way to begin recovery. Our goal is to help you process what happened and understand the emotional and psychological effects it has had on your life. From here, we can begin the process of healing so you live fully again.
Can You Help with Pathological Grief?
Pathological grief occurs when grief doesn’t heal over time. It can be diagnosed as late as one or more years after the incident that caused you to grieve has passed.
If this sounds familiar, we strongly recommend you seek professional help. There’s usually a reason you can’t find resolution. Our therapists will help you understand the process and take meaningful steps towards healing. View our Treatment Modalities page to learn more.
Will I Have to Take Medication?
The decision to take medication or not is one you should make with your primary care provider or psychiatrist. Medication can alleviate symptoms enough to allow you to function again, but it won’t treat the underlying causes of your concerns and help you make long-term changes.
In some cases, therapy alone will be enough to help you achieve your goals. In other causes, your health care team may recommend a combination of therapy and medication. We are more than happy to work with your doctor to provide a holistic approach that achieves the best results.
What Does Confidentiality Really Mean?
Anything you say during a session will be kept between you and your therapist. This is critical because we cover highly sensitive subject matter, which requires a high level of trust between you and your therapist. One of the first things we’ll provide when you start working with us is our Confidentiality Policy which will explain how it works and how we protect your information.
There are two exceptions you should know about:
- Informed consent. Sometimes, you may want us to share information with your other health care providers – for example, your primary care provider or your attorney. In this case, we’ll obtain your written permission before releasing the information.
- Legal requirements. State law and professional ethics set out a number of scenarios where we will be compelled to share information. These include:
- If we believe you are in serious danger of harming yourself or someone else.
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, or older people
- If a court requests us to provide your records as part of a trial.
Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions or concerns about confidentiality.
Do You Accept Insurance?
We currently do not accept insurance. This is because we believe that grief and trauma are a natural part of life and are not illnesses to be cured. Instead, we accept payment by cash, check, major credit cards, HSA, and FSA. You can find more information on our Rates & Insurance page.
Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions or concerns about payment.