What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy but they primarily provide medication. Psychologists are doctors who specialize in understanding mental health. They provide counseling and do not prescribe medication.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, we’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with us, we would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, we could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.
I feel fat and unhappy. What can I do?
A lot of people feel this way, especially women. It doesn’t matter if we are at a healthy weight or not, we still feel this way. In Western culture, we are taught that fat is bad and that being fat is a sign of poor character. We are expected to feel shame and unhappiness about being fat. As a result, many people who are unhappy about other things – but who don’t deal with them – begin to feel bad about themselves more generally, and then they “feel fat”.
So, what can you do?
Try to separate what you believe about being fat and other things happening in your life.
Think of it. When do you “feel fat”? Does this feeling come and go or is it always there? Do you feel bad about yourself when certain things happen or when you are around certain people? The truth is that there is no one perfect body for everyone. We come in all shapes and sizes. Our weight, shape and size – like our height – are determined by a mix of genetics, metabolism and lifestyle. People are naturally thin, average or fat, and everything in between. Thus, “feeling fat” is really saying, “I don’t like myself.” After all, “fat” is not a feeling. If you are able to understand and eventually let go of these ideas about your body, you will be able treat yourself better and value your strengths.
Can men and boys develop eating disorders?
Yes. Men and boys can have unhealthy eating patterns and eating disorders. An eating disorder is the same illness whether it shows up in a man or woman, although many more women than men have eating disorders. It is estimated that there is one man for every 20 women with anorexia. The estimate is that there is one man for every 10 women with bulimia.
Research has shown that men who endure social pressure in relation to their personal identity or bodies, such as athletes, men in the entertainment and vanity industries, are more vulnerable to the development of disordered eating. Boys and men who over-exercise or diet are also at increased risk for an eating disorder.
- Boys and men have many of the same problems as girls and women:
- Not feeling ‘good enough.’
- Not feeling in control of their lives.
- Feeling depressed, angry, anxious or alienated.
- A history of troubled family or social relationships.
- Having difficulties in expressing their feelings.
- A history of abuse.
- Feeling confused about their sexuality.
Are certain personality traits more common in individuals with eating disorders?
People with eating disorders tend to be perfectionistic, eager to please others, sensitive to criticism, and self-doubting. They often have difficulty adapting to change, tolerating negative feelings, and are future-oriented. Some people with eating disorders have a more extroverted temperament and are often novelty-seeking and impulsive with difficulty maintaining stable relationships.
How do I know if someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs?
If a person is compulsively seeking and using alcohol or drug(s) despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, family problems, or physical problems brought on by drug abuse, then he or she probably is addicted. And while people who are addicted may believe they can stop any time, most often they cannot, and will need professional help—first to determine if they in fact are addicted, and then to obtain treatment. Support from friends and family can be critical in getting people to seek help and helping them to maintain abstinence following treatment.
How do I know if my problems stem from a health disorder rather than a true drug addiction?
Many people who seek treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction may also struggle with mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, grief, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. They may also struggle with social anxiety, family conflict, or intimate relationship problems. This combination of addiction along with mental health problems is called “co-occurring disorders” and is quite common. Addressing the complexity of issues around co-occurring disorders alongside the addiction to drugs and alcohol is essential in the course of treatment. Oftentimes, it is understanding of these underlying issues that enables clients to feel like they are ready to make decisions and lasting change about their addiction.