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General Therapy FAQs

Below find frequently asked questions about how therapy works, what types of therapy are available and what a therapist is and how they can help. 

If you are curious to experience how therapy could benefit you, click the button below to request an appointment online.

General Therapy Questions

How does therapy work?

Therapy offers personalized solutions to problems you are unable to solve yourself. The therapist helps diagnose your problem, helps you understand your situation, and then guides you to a solution.

Some areas that therapy may help patients succeed in include:

  • Overcoming obstacles.
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Understanding yourself and others
  • Repairing relationships

Therapy offers something for everyone, regardless of your background, goals, etc.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) refers to the practice of teaching clients to recognize and ultimately change behavior or thought patterns that may be causing or exacerbating undesirable symptoms or situations.

CBT also places an emphasis on current situations and patterns instead of focusing on what could have led the client to establish these patterns (although some attention is placed on this as well).

Common CBT strategies include:

  • Recognizing harmful behavior or thought patterns
  • Gaining new problem solving skills for common difficult situations.
  • Learning how to attain perspective on the behavior and motivation of others.
  • Growing self confidence.

Who is cognitive behavioral therapy for?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can benefit anyone, from individuals with depression or anxiety to those struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse. CBT is also a very useful tool within family or relationship therapy due to its emphasis on personal responsibility and understanding others actions and motivations.

How does therapy help anxiety?

Therapy can help individuals struggling with anxiety by providing perspective and new coping techniques. Each individual’s struggle with anxiety is unique, and so is the type of therapy you may receive.

Common ways that therapy can help alleviate anxiety include:

  • Helping you discover the source of your fears and worries.
  • Providing you with the tools to reframe anxiety-inducing situations in the future.
  • Learning relaxation and coping techniques to help you better manage your symptoms.

How does therapy help depression?

Therapy can be a useful tool in treating depression by providing you with the skills to reevaluate your current situation and work toward overcoming obstacles through positive changes and reframing.

You and your condition are unique. For this reason, your therapist might try a variety of evidence-based therapy approaches to determine what works best for you. This may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), psychodynamic psychotherapy and problem-solving therapy.

It may be the case that your therapist recommends medication in addition to (but never as a replacement for) therapy. If this is the case, your therapist will communicate this to you and provide you with a referral.

How does therapy help trauma?

Trauma-based therapy can be an important component to helping individuals who have experienced trauma understand the event on a deeper level, process the memories and emotions related to the event and better cope with them on a whole.

When is therapy not enough?

Seeking therapy is a great first step. Your therapist can offer an objective evaluation of your current situation to determine if further action needs to be taken. This may include a referral to another specialist, or even the suggestion of inpatient treatment. It is a great way to check in and let a qualified professional provide an informed recommendation.

Preparing for Therapy Sessions

How do I prepare myself for therapy?

While you are welcome to come as you are to your therapy appointment, it can be helpful to consider some of the questions below:

  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What type of relationship are you looking to have with your therapist?
  • What topics or areas would you like to focus on?
  • Have any specific or general questions for your therapist? Bring those too!

Be sure to also bring your schedule so that you can set up your next appointment while you are with the therapist.

What happens at a first therapy session?

A first therapy session allows you and your therapist to get to know one another. Undoubtedly, you will both have a lot of questions, and this is the time to ask! Your therapist will be looking to get to know your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and the areas of your life in which you’d like to focus while in session.

On the other hand, a first appointment also offers you the opportunity to ask your therapist questions about their practice, their specialties or counseling style and their goals for your time together.

How do I talk to my therapist?

You should talk to your therapist honestly and with confidence that anything you say (with a few exceptions – see next question) will be ethically and legally protected according to HIPAA standards.

What information can my therapist share with my family?

Anything you tell your therapist within the confines of the session is confidential, with a few exceptions. These include:

If your therapist has reason to believe that you are a danger to yourself or others
If your therapist would like to consult with someone else about your treatment, such as your doctor or psychiatrist, they may get your written permission to share patient information.

What should I tell/not tell my therapist?

It is extremely important that you are as honest and open with your therapist as possible. Open communication between the two of you allows them to better understand you and your situation and provide more accurate and helpful information, recommendations and/or referrals.

As always, please remember that any information you share with your therapist is kept private and confidential according to HIPAA standards.

Is it ok to cry during therapy?

It is perfectly normal to get emotional during your therapy sessions! Often, the topics covered within these sessions are personal and can stir up all types of emotions. Please rest assured that your emotions are valid and can be expressed safely within your therapy session.

Is therapy covered by insurance?

Many types of insurance cover therapy sessions, to varying degrees. If you are uncertain of your insurance coverage, please contact your insurance provider and ask them. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Counseling, Therapy, Psychology and Psychiatry

What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?

While the words counseling and therapy (or psychotherapy) may be used interchangeably for the sake of brevity (including on this site), they actually refer to two different services with many similarities.

Counseling refers to therapy by a licensed counselor who can provide short or long-term counseling focused on mild to moderate symptoms or situations, including relationships, family and some mental health conditions.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, refers to therapy provided by a licensed psychologist (at times in conjunction with a psychiatrist) focused on moderate or severe symptoms, illness or conditions, such as severe depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, trauma, etc.

That is not to say that one is inferior to the other, but only that they are different in the level of care that may be needed within certain conditions or situations.

What is the difference between counselors and psychologists?

Counselors and psychologists are both state-licensed mental health practitioners capable of providing exceptional therapy to a variety of people groups to help them achieve overall wellness.

Psychologists differ from counselors in that they receive additional schooling and training in the treatment of severe mental health disorders, among other things.

What is the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists?

The main difference between psychiatrists and psychologists is the manner of treatment they provide. A psychologist provides counseling and talk therapy to patients in longer sessions to help them develop perspective, coping strategies and goals. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who prescribes medication for the treatment of mental illnesses.

The two often work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to help patients thrive.

How do I choose a therapist?

It is important to choose a practice that is convenient for you both in physical location and hours offered to ensure that you feel comfortable attending sessions for whatever length is appropriate.

You do not always need to choose a specific therapist within the practice. In fact, calling a practice is often the best way to get matched up with the best therapist for you.

Most of our clients do not identify a therapist when they contact our office. After a few brief questions, we’ll be happy to match you to one of our therapists.

Contact Us

1340 N Remington Road, Suite N., Schaumburg, IL 60173

528 W. Roosevelt Road, Suite #201 Wheaton, IL 60187