Angela Hutton, LCSW, SEP - Inspired Somatic Psychotherapy
Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and how is this different from a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), a Psychologist (Ph.D/PsyD), or a Psychicatrist (MD)? 
In general, all practitioners with these credentials can practice psychotherapy.  Every credential requires different levels of education and supervised experience.   Each psychotherapist has varying levels of experience with populations and clinical issues so you will need to ask your specific therapist if they have experience/training in the issue for which you are seeking treatment. 
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) has graduated with a Masters in Social Work and then are required to gain supervised training, hours of experience, and to pass the State or National licensure exam(s).  Social Workers who want to work as a therapist are trained in psychological theory, therapeutic techniques, and mental health related practicums.  Social Workers in the field can provide psychotherapy, case management, evaluation, mental health assessment, and DSM diagnosis.  Social Workers also have an option to work on a macro level and find ways to affect public policy and other community services.
A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) has graduated from a masters level program in psychology.   MFT’s receive training that focuses on clinical work with clients from a relational perspective.  They have similar requirements for experience and training as LCSW’s and also have to pass a licensure exam.
A Psychologist (PH.D or PsyD) has completed their doctoral program in Psychology or Social Work.  They have had extensive training and most often have to complete a thesis in an area of interest.  Psychologists are trained in psychological testing.  Some Psychologists work clinically and others conduct research or work in academia.

2.  How does therapy work?
Psychotherapy is a process in which an individual, couple, family, or group comes to a mental health professional to assist them in assessing and treating mental health symptoms and/or relational problems.  The relationship between the therapist and client is very important and requires trust be built over time to be most effective.  Depending on the individual training as well as personal and professional experience of the therapist, they bring a unique perspective and style to help clients develop solutions and pathways to change.  There are various interventions that can be utilized in sessions.  In therapy with me, you can expect that the first few sessions will be used to really get to know you.  I will ask questions about the current issue that brings you to therapy, obtain a general history, and then work with you on developing a treatment goal and plan.  Sometimes I make suggestions of thing you can do to practice new ways of thinking/behaving/relating to others between sessions in order to help treatment progress.  Sessions may include verbal and non-verbal interventions.  Most of the time therapy will feel supportive and positive, other times a therapy session can leave you feeling "off" or even a little worse.  This is a normal part of the healing process.  The most important thing is to communicate with me about how things are going for you so I can pace sessions so they don’t feel too overwhelming.  I welcome and value all feedback about sessions and thoughts about your therapy process at any time.   

3.  What is CBT and Mindfulness Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that works with your thoughts and emotions as they relate to your behaviors.  CBT is used to work with many different symptoms and mental health issues including depression, anxiety, phobias, addiction, and low self–esteem to name a few. CBT helps you to identify and challenge distorted or destructive thoughts in order to make changes.   
Mindfulness is when you are in a state of open awareness with yourself and the environment.  The practice of mindfulness helps you to become aware of what is happening in the moment without judgment or necessarily trying to change the experience.  Mindfulness practices can assist you with increasing your acceptance of yourself and the world around you.   
I find that the combination of CBT and mindfulness in my work with clients to be effective and powerful in addressing most issues.  I feel that the first step to address negative thoughts and behaviors is to increase awareness and to practice compassion and kindness with oneself.  

4.  I don’t feel the same pleasure as I used to, could I be depressed?
There may be various reasons whey you feel a loss of pleasure in your life.  However, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you previously enjoyed is called anhedonia and is a symptom of depression.  If you are experiencing this symptom, you may want to speak with your doctor and/or a therapist about what is happening for you. 

5.  What if I have trauma or other things I don’t want to talk about in my past—do I have to talk about them?
Therapy is not about making you talk about things you aren’t ready for or don’t want to address.  If there are events that were too painful or traumatic from your past, you may feel a deep desire to avoid these topics as a way to protect yourself from further pain.  I can work with you on how to manage your symptoms without you having to provide every detail or your past.  It is important that you develop ways to cope and regulate your system as a first step to any work with trauma.  
 
6.  What is the difference between anxiety and panic attacks?
Panic attacks are a form of an anxiety disorder.  Anxiety can take many forms including generalized worry, physical tension, intense fear of certain things or situations, and obsessive thinking.  Panic attacks are generally short lived and intense and come without warning most of the time.  Symptoms of a panic attack may include: trembling, sweating, feeling like you are choking or having a heart attack, nausea, intense fear, and overwhelm.  Since panic attacks can happen at any time, most people who have them develop a fear about having them.  This fear often results in avoidance of situations and people.  I can help you manage panic attacks and anxiety with therapy.
 
7.  What is does it mean to integrate body, mind, and spirit into psychotherapy?
In my work with clients, I think it is important to address the whole person.  People are so much more than their personality and their thoughts.  Human beings are a complex system and to disregard any of the parts can be short sighted and ineffective.  For this reason, I like to assist clients in experiencing their bodies and physical sensations in relation to their thoughts and emotions.  I find that the therapy can go deeper as shifts are really felt in the body and not just in the mind.  When this level of awareness happens, it often opens a window into someone’s spirit.  In sessions, I may utilize guided visualization, music, art, and movement for clients who are interested in this type of work.  

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