What to Expect from Therapy
There are many different ways to do “therapy”- so not all therapists will be the same! Finding the right fit is the first step in your journey towards well being and thriving.
Here at PATC we focus on a client centered approach, meaning we meet you where you are and focus on your personal goals and values. Or primary goal is to see you as a person and help you find your preferred way of being in the world.
The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.
Sounds lovely, but really what is therapy?
Therapy, or counseling, is a branch of applied psychology geared at working to help explore behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and life experiences that shape who you are as a person. Therapy is also a way to help support you in improving your life and breaking free of habits that do not align with the person you want to be.
So how exactly does that work for children and teens?
At PATC we focus on children, teens, and families as way to promote changes in family patterns, understand child development, and address a range of mental health issues impacting children and teens (such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, life adjustments (e.g. divorce, moving), etc). In child therapy you will not likely see a child sitting on the couch talking, but you will a child engaged in play, art, or other creative and child-center approach. We believe in working using the language of children to meet them where they are rather than try to turn them into tiny adults. The work of child and teen therapy should be serious fun- meaning that they work they do is meaningful, at time challenge, but also should be done in a way that feels safe, helpful, and often times fun. (for more on Play or Art Therapy check out..)
Can therapy can be helpful to anyone - not just people with major mental health issues?
Therapy is useful to a wide range of people! Therapy is a great chance to explore how to get the most out of your life and develop the tools you need to express and understand your thoughts, feelings, and actions in a positive way. In fact, because PATC is in a private practice/out-patient setting, those suffering from dangerous or severe degrees of emotional stress (such as psychotic symptoms) will be referred to higher and more appropriate levels of care than we currently provide.
What should I do first?
The first step is to make a phone call (678-222-2987) to schedule and discuss in more detail your reasons for seeking therapy so we can answer any questions you might have. On the phone we will discuss if we can provide you with the services you need. If for some reason our services are not a good fit, we will give you referrals for other therapists or mental health services. If therapy does seem like a good fit, we will then schedule an appointment, and we will send you appropriate forms and information to be filled out prior to the first session.
What should I expect when I come to an appointment?
The first 2-3 sessions are usually a "get to know you" time, where we both continue to see if therapy is a good fit. During this time we will collect information about challenges, strengths, and family history. We will also work to build goals and address your expectation of therapy. If therapy involves treatment of a minor, depending on the age, the sessions will involve the parents and child/ren, as well as child-only sessions (if you and/or the child feels comfortable to do so). Usually after the 3rd or 4th session a parent update session (generally without the child) will be provided to discuss issues, address therapeutic plan, and assess if additional referrals are needed (such as psychological testing).
TIME: Each session will be 45-50 mins unless otherwise discussed.
Payment: Are due at the time of service using a HiPPA compliant text based system know as IVYPAY. We do NOT bill insurance and or speak with insurance providers. We can provide a “superbill” for you to submit towards reimbursement,
Cancelations: All cancellations must be made 48 hours prior to the session to avoid charges for missed appointments.
How long should therapy take?
It depends. The goal for most therapy is to not need therapy. Some people find that they only need 10-15 sessions to really work on specific issue or problem. Other times therapy may take longer, such as a 6 months to a year. Generally it is recommended that therapy start with weekly sessions. Also, some people find that on-going therapy is a useful way to stay on top of their emotional health, and may continue to come in for an emotional "check-up" on an as-needed basis once regular therapy services are no longer needed.
How can I get the most out of therapy?
Try your best to come regularly to appointments. Avoid too many cancelations. Children generally do better with routines so weekly or bi weekly regular attendance is recommended. Continue to work outside of the session - especially when it comes to ”homework”. Come to your session prepared - reflect on what you many want to discuss or address during the session. Some clients find it helpful to keep a journal to track feelings and goals. Remember therapy is only 50 mins in the 24 hrs that make up your day!!
Also remember therapy is a process about helping you or your child promote self-awareness and self-care. Sometimes it might be hard, sometimes it might feel easy, and it should always feel safe and supportive.