Lauren Walsh, LMHC
How can I benefit from therapy?
Therapy provides many benefits. Therapists are trained to provide support, aid in development of problem-solving skills, and help you identify and explore coping strategies for common issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. In addition, therapists can provide support with personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can help you identify new ways to view a difficult problem or help you explore various paths to a solution. What you get out of therapy is proportional to what you are ready, willing and able to put into the process. How much you change is related to the ways in which you are able to reflect on the therapeutic process and make concrete efforts to use the information you learn in therapy to change thoughts, behaviors or patterns that no longer serve you. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Why see a therapist now?
Life is challenging and everyone experiences periods in life when those challenges feel tougher. You may be experiencing a major transition in life (loss of a job, loss of a relationship, death of a loved one or even positive changes like moving or starting a new job). Maybe you are feeling more stressed out and a bit overwhelmed with the circumstances in your life. Perhaps you experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, have low self esteem, relationship troubles or spiritual conflicts. Maybe you are just feeling blocked creatively. You may be ready to learn more about yourself, your goals, your values, and create a life plan. Reaching out for support during those tough times is an admirable and proactive step toward improved mental and emotional health. Therapy can provide additional support from a non-biased neutral person and help you achieve benefits that can last a lifetime. Therapy provides you the opportunity to develop tools and strategies to help you manage your current situation and identify and avoid triggering situations that can impact your well-being. Therapy can help you create healthy emotional and behavioral patterns and increase your confidence in your ability to overcome whatever personal challenges you may encounter.
What can I expect from therapy?
Therapy is different with and for every person. Sessions are 45 minutes and generally serve as time for you to discuss the issues that are of concern in your life right now and explore how your personal history relates to your current situation. It is helpful to identify concrete goals that will help you commit to and evaluate your progress in therapy. I will work directly with you, usually weekly, to address your current concerns and needs and to identify strategies to help you make choices that will enhance your mental and emotional well-being. We may explore your current and past patterns of behavior, identify and discuss the values that are important to you and address the successes and progress you are experiencing in your therapy.
Your results will be better if your commitment to the therapy is solid and you actively participate in the process. You will be encouraged to think about the work you are doing in therapy outside of the session. You may be asked to actively take steps to enhance your work by reading relevant materials, journaling or noting thoughts and behaviors outside of session.
Therapy can be short or long term. It can be for a specific issue or for more general personal growth and development. Either way I will work with you in each moment to create a personalized approach to therapy influenced by what is important to you.
What are your thoughts about medication?
Mental and emotional problems are not solved by medication alone. It is important to understand and treat the cause and patterns associated with emotional problems. The process of therapy can help you learn to manage, alleviate or eliminate symptoms by helping you to understand and change negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors and by enhancing coping strategies to help you manage distressing situations. It can help you focus on improving mental health and overall wellness by identifying and following a self care plan and learning to find balance in life.
There are times you may wish to consider a combination of medication and therapy. This is an important and personal decision that is best made in collaboration with your doctor, therapist and other trusted members of your health care team so that you can make the decision that feels best for you.
Can I use my health insurance?
I currently accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield and can also provide you documentation to be reimbursed if you have a PPO plan or wish to use out of network benefits. I also accept private pay for clients who wish to see a therapist outside of the insurance network system.
Deciding whether to use insurance can be a complicated decision, often motivated by finances. If you are able, you may wish to pay privately for therapy. This may be preferable to you if you wish to avoid receiving a diagnosis for a mental disorder. In order to be reimbursed for therapy services, insurance companies require certain information from therapists, including a mental diagnosis (based on the DSM-V) and periodic updates on symptoms and progress. This information determines if your therapy will be covered and if they will place a limit on the number of sessions covered. With private pay there is no limit to the number of sessions available and your insurance company will not have access to your therapy record. This is a highly personal choice so please consider carefully. I am available if you wish to discuss your options so that you can make the decision that is best for you.
If you decide to use insurance, check with your insurance company to determine your eligibility for mental health benefits by calling them directly. Be sure you ask the right questions and be sure you understand the answers (insurance can be complicated). Some questions to consider:
Can I expect what I say in therapy to be confidential?
Confidentiality is an important part of the relationship between client and therapist and your privacy is of the utmost importance to me. The best therapy occurs when you have trust in the process and when you feel safe and confident that sensitive issues that are discussed will remain within the therapy office. You will receive a written copy of the confidentiality agreement which outlines both your rights to privacy and the limitations of confidentiality. If you wish to have your information or progress shared with a specific member of your healthcare team (such as a primary care physician, etc.) you are able as long as you provide a signed and written release of information.
It is important to note that there are legal limits to your confidentiality. These are circumstances in which I am legally and ethically obligated to break confidentiality: