The decision to see a therapist is a very personal one. People realize that therapy can involve looking closely at yourself, your situation and the people around you. For some people, this can be very difficult at first, but the rewards are immeasurable. Having a trained psychologist to work with you in this process is an invaluable asset. Therapy helps people to enhance and maintain their physical and mental health, and promote honesty, intimacy and fulfillment in their lives.
It is important to understand that counseling is different from friendship. As a psychologist, I am not there to be your friend, but rather to guide you to insight and solutions to problems that are keeping you from reaching your full potential. During a session you and I together will do the hard work that will lead you to the answers that are already inside of you. My clinical training enables me to challenge and support you in ways that your friends cannot. Often just telling someone who is not otherwise involved in your life about the pain or challenges you have can be very liberating, especially in the context of a therapeutic relationship.
Everything you say in our sessions will be kept confidential. The only exceptions are when there is a danger that you may harm yourself or someone else, or in active cases of abuse. If you are involved in the abuse of someone in your care or if you are being abused, I am obligated by law to disclose that information to the appropriate authorities. However, those types of situations are rare. Most people find it a great relief to have a safe space where they are able to share whatever they like without being judged and rest assured that it will remain confidential.
What Happens in a Typical Therapy Session?
What happens in your therapy session will be shaped by your particular needs. There are two main ways to have psychotherapy. Dr. Carmichael will work with you to determine the best approach for your situation.
Open-ended Therapy Sessions: Some people work towards the solutions best by having a weekly appointment and sharing whatever is on their mind in an open-ended way. This facilitates awareness and personal growth. Dr. Carmichael will provide space to explore whatever you are experiencing in the moment, and provide guidance to consider your thoughts and feelings in ways that foster insight.
Structured Therapy Sessions: Some people find the solution lies in highly structured sessions. In structured sessions, a clear plan is always in place and you will know exactly what is going to happen at every session. You might be guided to practice particular skills or review certain types of interactions with specific, targeted goals for improvement.
Dr. Carmichael has training and experience in both open-ended and structured approaches. She is also skilled at combining them or toggling back and forth between them as well. In your initial sessions, Dr. Carmichael will work with you to determine the best approach for your needs.
When, Where and How often Does Therapy Happen?
When: Dr. Carmichael is able to see you at a variety of times, including evenings and weekends. Because sessions are a manageable amount of time (45-50 minutes), she is usually able to find a time that works in your schedule.
Where: Dr. Carmichael will be happy to see you in her office, through Skype, or over the phone. Dr. Carmichael recognizes that many clients lead busy lives and are not always able to come to the office due to travel or other issues, and she will work to fit with your needs.
How Often: The frequency of your sessions will depend on your particular needs. Some clients prefer to come more frequently while they are addressing a problem in the early stages and then schedule less frequent appointments to maintain gains or even just have occasional “booster” sessions. Dr. Carmichael supports clients who want to work best in this way. Dr. Carmichael is also happy to accommodate clients who can benefit from short-term therapy which is generally about 8-10 sessions, as well as clients who benefit from ongoing standing appointments on a weekly basis. There are also some clients who occasionally want to be seen more often when they want additional support. Dr. Carmichael will offer you her professional opinion about what frequency is best for you, and she will always respect your right to decide about how often feels best for you.
If you would like to learn more about what happens in therapy, or to schedule an appointment and experience it firsthand, contact Dr. Carmichael.