Counselor in Austin answering FAQs about therapy
How much does therapy cost?
This can really vary. Individual sessions with me are $120 per counseling hour (50 minutes).
Do you take insurance?
I currently accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield and I can give you a “superbill” which is something you can give to your insurance company and they may reimburse you (I’d chat with them about that piece).
How do I find the right counselor or therapist in Austin?
There’s A TON of options and choices, which is so great! It’s very important that you find a good match because it will be much more productive for you. You can always search for what your looking for in the googles (i.e. enter "therapy anxiety Austin” or “counseling depression Austin” into Google). Another really great way to find a counselor is by looking in therapist directories. The most popular one around here is Psychology Today, there are also others like Good Therapy and Therapy Den. What’s cool is you can have a peek at their profile and get a feel for if they could be a good fit for you. Areas of focus and types of therapy tools they use are often included. If they have a website, it’s often linked to that as well… I always think it’s helpful to check out a counselor’s website.
What is the first meeting like?
This can really vary with the therapist and what’s going on for you, but the first session is often a little bit different. Typically, the first session is a moment to discuss what you’d like to focus on and get some foundation and background stuff. It’s also a time to get that initial vibe and determine if you feel it’s a good fit. Sometimes there are questionnaire’s that counselors use to get some historical and background information from you. The first session is also the time when your therapist will talk to you about confidentiality and informed consent. This includes a lot of pieces like making sure you know your information is protected and how nothing can be shared except in a few rare cases where someone’s immediate safety is at risk. You can get a copy of all the forms you sign, just ask!
Of course the goal is to ensure you can meet with someone that you feel comfortable with… so it’s OK if you don’t feel a therapist is a good fit for you. I’m going to say that again… it’s OK if you don’t feel a therapist is a good fit for you. Listen to that and respond to it. You can just let the counselor know that it doesn’t feel like a good match and they should give you a referral to another counselor or you can search for yourself using the info above.
What is the difference between talking to a therapist and talking to a friend or family member?
Friends and family can sometimes be a great resource. Having said that, I don’t know about you… but sometimes I need someone outside of all the “muck” to provide a truly objective viewpoint, and counselors can do this. Something else to keep in mind is that counselors and therapists spend a lot of time studying and learning tools and theories that can be helpful to you. We are also required to take additional courses every few years to maintain our licensure, which means we should have the most cutting edge information to help you... this is our job and our focus. When we’re in a rough spot, it’s important that get this type of support from someone who has training and experience, and that’s what a counselor and therapist can provide.
Can I just take medication to make all of this go away?
Medication can be very helpful for some people, and not so much for others. If your taking medication, it’s very important that you have regular conversations with your prescriber about how it’s making you feel. Medication is also most effective in conjunction with counseling. Just because we temporarily changed our brain chemistry doesn’t mean we have the tools to manage a tough situation or moment, or that we know how to take care of ourselves afterwards. For example, medications don’t teach us how to communicate better and how to have better boundaries… these are things that can be learned in therapy. Also, if you stop taking the medications, and you haven’t developed some tools and skills to manage what was coming up, some of these symptoms are likely to return. As Bessel van der Kolk says, “drugs cannot ‘cure’ trauma.”
How long will all this take?
Well, it really depends. I’ve always described mental health as one of those things that we need to care for, just like our physical health. This means we have to care for it in different ways at different points in our lives and this is a very individual decision. For example, maybe you can address some tough stuff with some weekly (or more) sessions, it’s really got to be a timeline that works for you. It’s also important that you ensure you have the space to put in the work. There isn’t a magic wand and stuff won’t disappear… it’s about finding ways to work with the stuff and manage it. Ultimately, this is your train and you drive it, but you can’t even start until you start!