What is the difference between Counseling and Psychotherapy?
Counseling and psychotherapy are terms that are often used interchangeably. A Licensed Psychotherapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor typically have a comparable educational and professional training background. I tend to prefer the word psychotherapy because it connotes something more of the rich, complex and subtle processes that take place within the therapeutic work and relationship, and which are the essential factors of treatment.
For me, the term “counseling” encompasses a shorter-term, situationally focused process in which the therapist provides guidance for resolving a specific problem in one’s environment or relationship. If you are looking for support and professional expertise in addressing a specific matter, but are not particularly interested in or in need of more in-depth personal therapy, counseling would be what you are looking for. If you are finding that problems you are experiencing have a repetitive quality, or you are experiencing ongoing depression, anxiety or relationship issues, regardless of specific circumstances, you would probably benefit from the more in-depth psychotherapy process.
How often and for how long do I need to attend therapy sessions to receive benefit?
Many people find that one session per week is just right – it provides enough frequency that the therapeutic process maintains good continuity and momentum, yet there is time to digest the last session before coming in for the next one. Some people find that a session every other week is sufficient. There are also times when more than one session a week is indicated, such as during a crisis or when one wants to focus even more intensively on the therapeutic process.
Each person and situation is unique, so a specific timeframe for how long to be in therapy varies. However, a course of effective therapy with truly lasting results typically takes between a few months and a number of years, assuming the traditional once per week therapy format. Most people begin to feel much better soon after beginning therapy. However, for lasting change to happen, issues must be addressed and re-worked at a very deep level, and this takes time. We’ve all had the experience of having a deep insight or a spiritual or profoundly inspiring experience that we feel has changed us forever, yet pretty soon we are back to the old patterns that aren’t serving us very well anymore. We all like the idea of quick fixes and we live in a culture that sells the idea that if we just buy the right product, do the right exercise, take the right supplement, etc., we’ll get the satisfaction we’re looking for very quickly. Even therapists fall into this marketing mentality trap and tout new therapeutic techniques that cure serious mental health issues in a snap.
It’s true that our understanding of neurobiology, emotions, attachment and how change happens in the brain is increasing as a result of the enormous amount of neuroscience research that has been happening for several decades. However, there is no quick fix or escape from the necessity of working through our difficulties in the crucible of the therapeutic relationship in real, human time. This is so because the vast majority of our serious problems originated in the context of a relationship and harmful messages we received in it. So it takes a reparative relationship with many new and healing experiences, over time, to overwrite that painful programming and to deeply integrate our new sense of self and other.
Even when deeper issues have been addressed, many people find that therapy, continuously or off and on, is a lifelong aspect of self-care, similar to taking care of one’s physical health through good diet and exercise.
How much do therapy session cost?
My individual session fee is $175 – $200. Group fee is $60. I also keep a number of reduced fee spots in my schedule to ensure that I am able to serve people with diverse socio-economic circumstances.
Do you take insurance?
I do not file insurance directly; I work on an out-of-network basis. An out-of-network therapist is paid by you at the time of services and you are provided with a statement, which you submit to your carrier for direct reimbursement to you as the insured. Check with your insurance company on the reimbursement given by your particular policy for out-of-network mental health services provided by a licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC).