Frequently Asked Questions
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
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.