Psychotherapy FAQs

 

You may have questions about therapy.  Please browse the questions and answers below, or click on a question to jump to the answer.

Can therapy help? If I can talk to a smart, compassionate friend, why would I pay for therapy?

What kinds of problems might be addressed in therapy?

What happens in a therapy session?

How long are the therapy sessions?

What can I discuss in therapy?

Who can I see for therapy?

What if I don’t feel comfortable with the therapist?

Insurance and Filing Options

What is CBT?

If you are considering therapy, and have any other question, feel free to contact me here. I would be glad to help.

Can therapy help? If I can talk to a smart, compassionate friend, why would I pay for therapy?

Therapy is not for everyone and it is not for every problem.  Certainly good advice can come from a number of sources, including friends and family members.  There are problems that require scientific and clinical expertise.  There are also issues that may require careful assessment to determine what the actual problem is.  And finally there may be issues that are so private in nature, revealing them to someone in a personal capacity may not be an option yet.  There may also be chronic problems or unfulfilled dreams that people have been trying unsuccessfully to help you with.  That is when effective therapy with an expertise in the area may be appropriate.

Some therapies are supportive and non-directive in nature.  Therapy practiced in this office is active and directive.  Concrete goals are set, barriers are identified, and interventions target removing barriers or giving clients the tools to navigate around them so they can achieve goals and live a happier, more satisfying, and meaningful life.

What kinds of problems might be addressed in therapy?

Emotional problems, such as anger, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, and shame can be targeted.  Therapy can help to reduce how often you experience these feelings and how intense they are.  As you learn to change your feelings you will become more confident as you feel a sense of control.  You will also learn how to behavior towards your goals even if you are experiencing an emotion.  Once you are confident you are in more control of your life, you can continue to revise your life goals and get back to embracing the changes you want to make at work, with friends and family, and any other area of your life.

What happens in a therapy session?

Therapy sessions will begin by going over how successful you were since the previous session in hitting your targets and what difficulties you had.  We will then set an agenda, so we can efficiently use our time.  We will be sure to take stock of why things went well, so it is clear how to ensure things can continue to go well.  We will also utilize interventions to eliminate the existing problems by carefully analyzing them, and develop existing or new skills in order to better manage them in the coming week.

The goal is to effectively treat emotional and behavioral problems.  We do this so clients can begin to live the kind of vital life that represents what is most important or valuable in their lives, not one that is dominated by escaping negative emotions or old behavioral patterns.  Often times clients are not even conscious of the patterns of avoidance in their lives.  Once you have the tools you can begin to clarify what is most important and move towards that, rather than fleeing from negative emotions and distressing thoughts.

How long are the therapy sessions?

Individual therapy sessions are 45 minutes.  Although there is a clear agenda and structure, there is still time to explore what is necessary to be sure that the client is really understood.  Given the nature of emotional and behavioral problems, it is critical that the work doesn’t stop after 45 minutes.  Assignments are given to be done in between sessions.  Bad habits have typically been ingrained over years, and so the more practice that takes place outside of session, the sooner the problems can be resolved.  In addition, often times the work required involves situations at work, home, and with people that are not going to be in the therapy session.  So the sessions are 45 minutes, but we will use time outside of session to do the work as well.

What can I discuss in therapy?

Anything can be discussed in therapy.  There is great flexibility about topics and existential questions can be the main focus for a particular client.  With that said, we will be goal focused.  If the goal is to come to a greater understanding or acceptance of existential issues, then we will spend the appropriate time on that.  Without being overly rigid, we will navigate back to the goals and the agenda when we go off course.  If something new comes up though, we will simply add it to the agenda in order to incorporate it into the longer-term goals.

Who can I see for therapy?

I am a clinical psychologist and I practice forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral therapy.  These kinds of therapy include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Traditional Behavior Therapy, etc.  You could also speak to a mental health counselor or a social worker.  In fact, anyone can call themselves a therapist.  Therefore it is critical to inquire about professional licensure and the extent of expertise in terms of trainings, publications, etc.

What if I don’t feel comfortable with the therapist?

At my practice there are a number of therapists.  I always let potential clients know that we want to be sure they are incredibly comfortable with the fit. So if they are not very satisfied after three or four sessions, I encourage them to call me directly and I will arrange for them to see someone else.  Honestly this has only occurred a few times in the years I have been doing this, and in those cases it had to do with a client realizing they would be more comfortable with a therapist of a different age or sex.

Insurance and Filing Options

As a courtesy, we electronically submit clients’ insurance claims monthly.  This means clients typically don’t have to deal with very much paperwork, which we know can be stressful and overwhelming.

So if you are entitled to any out-of-network reimbursement, the checks would be mailed directly to you from your insurance provider.  But you would provide payment for therapy at the time of service.

It is always a good idea to call your insurance company in advance to be sure there are not any surprises regarding reimbursement.

The lowest amount I have seen for someone with out-of-network coverage is 50%, and some plans are significantly higher.  We are not an in-network provider for any insurance.

We would be happy to speak with you to answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment.  Please feel free to call our office at (212) 551-1184.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an active directive form of therapy.  Expert CBT therapists perform a careful assessment of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, etc.  Goals are established based on what is valuable to the client.  Wherever negative symptoms exist, CBT therapy specifically assesses what is maintaining the symptom and intervenes to alleviate symptoms.

The general model proposes that we frequently behave in ways that are self-defeating when we are experiencing intense negative emotions.  For example, we may greatly value a relationship.  In fact because we value it so much, we become incredibly scared, hurt, and then angry when our partner says something that indicates his or her dissatisfaction with us.  In a fit of anger we may say something in response that makes the situation worse.  Over time, this pattern can put the relationship we value so much at risk.

CBT helps clients to become much better at recognizing situations and thinking patterns (distortions and faulty reasoning) that intensify negative emotions, putting people at greater risk of behaving against their own goals.  With practice clients learn these and other skills to regulate their emotions and at times even more importantly change their behaviors.  This enables clients to initiate and develop healthy relationships, be more productive at work, and enjoy recreational pursuits.  The overall goal is to reduce distress and to enhance well being.

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