Maybe you've never done therapy before and you're wondering what this is all about. Maybe you're an old pro but ask, "What's therapy like with you, Tammany?" I've included a list of questions I'm most commonly asked, but if there is something I haven't addressed or you need me to elaborate, please don't hesitate to contact me.
+ HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME?
Tam-uh-nee. Like Tammany Hall (for you history buffs). I know; it's a strange one.
+ HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO COME SEE YOU?
At the start of our work together, I suggest clients attend weekly. However, the frequency in which you attend is something we can discuss after your first session and revisit as needed. I take into consideration your goals, level of distress, resources, any session limit stipulated by insurance (when applicable), and availability when making a recommendation.
+ WHAT IS AN LCSW?
LCSW is the acronym for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Qualifications to become an LCSW include two years of graduate school for a master's degree in Social Work, followed by an additional 2-3 years working as a therapist under supervision. At the end of all this education and training there is an exam that must be passed in order to receive this licensure.
A mental health provider who is an LCSW is not licensed to prescribe medication.
+ IS THIS CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes. Confidentiality is critical in order for therapy to be effective. In addition, I am required by my license to abide by HIPAA laws regarding medical records, etc. Any release of your information will be done only with your permission. If you're curious, here is my latest HIPAA form.
+ I'VE NEVER DONE THERAPY. HOW DO I KNOW IT WILL WORK FOR ME?
If you’re considering therapy, I’m guessing you probably want to feel better, make changes, or improve a relationship. Starting therapy might feel a little daunting, but just by coming in you've hurdled the first big step. Depending on what you'd like to work on, you might find you're feeling better quickly, or it could take a bit longer. Therapy is a process that has no time table. My suggestion is to trust the process, stay open, and communicate with your therapist if you have concerns therapy isn't as effective as you'd like it to be.
+ HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST?
This is actually a really important question. Research shows a good therapeutic relationship is key for therapy to be successful. I encourage you to ask your potential therapist questions. Take the time to inform them of what some of your presenting concerns are. Pay attention to how he or she makes you feel; do you feel safe? Understood? Respected? Listen to your gut on this one.
+ AM I LOCKED IN? WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE YOU?
You are not locked in. We will schedule on a week-to-week basis. It is important for you to feel comfortable with whomever you're working with and for it to be a good therapeutic fit. If at any time you don't feel like we are working well together, you are absolutely free to discontinue and if you'd like, I will help you find someone else with whom you may work better.
+ WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
Starting therapy with someone you don't know can be a little nerve wracking. Here is a good idea of what you can expect when you come see me: When you arrive at my office, have a seat in our waiting area. If you were not able to complete the required paperwork emailed through my secure client portal, go ahead and complete the forms on the clipboard on the table. I will come get you at your appointment time.
The first session is a time for me to find out a little about you and what brought you to therapy. I will ask you some questions, and I will invite you to share whatever it is you would like me to know. At the end of the session we will check in about how things went and whether you’d like to schedule another session.
+ ARE YOU GOING TO DIAGNOSE ME OR MAKE ME TAKE MEDICATION?
If you are using insurance to pay for your therapy, I will have to include a diagnosis in order for insurance to cover services. However, while working together in session, regardless of whether you are using insurance, I focus more on the concerns you share in our session and less on diagnosing.
Oftentimes the combination of psychotherapy and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms and overall functioning. However, if your symptoms are severe or aren't improving, I might suggest an assessment by a psychiatrist to discuss medication.