1) What is therapy? Why would I need to go see a psychologist?
Therapy is a scientifically informed method of treatment for people who may be feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied with their current quality of life. You may be struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, the challenges of managing a stressful life event, alcohol or substance abuse, roadblocks to achieving goals/personal growth, or other matters that may have a debilitating effect on your life. A psychologist will work together with you to develop a collaborative plan for how to best treat such issues and help you find relief from your more challenging symptoms.
2) Do you take insurance?
Yes! Our clinic is set up to work with most of your major, international insurance plans to help alleviate the costs that come with attending psychotherapy.
3) Do you do therapy with adults, or just kids?
While much of my clinical training involves working with children and families, I also have a great deal of experience working with adults in therapy. Currently, my caseload is broken down between 65% child patients, and 35% adult patients.
4) If I start therapy, does that mean I have to take medication?
No. Many of the patients that I see in therapy are not taking medication, while others may find it helpful. If I feel like you could benefit from medication support in addition to seeing me in therapy, you and I can talk about considering an adjunctive consultation with a psychiatrist.
5) How does the therapy process start? How long does it last?
Therapy starts with something called the “intake process.” This means that I will meet with you over the course of 1-2 sessions and ask you a series of questions about what brought you to therapy, your medical and mental health history, your current quality of social, familial, and occupational functioning, as well as what goals you would like to accomplish in our work together. At the conclusion of the intake process, we will determine a meeting schedule that takes into consideration your availability, your presenting issues and concerns, as well as your stated objectives for treatment. The length of how long you need to attend therapy varies with each patient. Some patients notice their symptoms subsiding after only 4-5 sessions, while other patients may need to come meet with me for longer. You may decide to stop meeting with me and then come back every once in awhile for check-ups, just like you would do with a medical doctor. You and I will decide together when is the best time for you to bring the therapy process to an end.
6) What kinds of issues do you treat?
Living in an international community like Shanghai provides its own unique challenges for children and adults alike. Many of the issues that I treat in therapy for children include academic struggles, feelings of sadness/grief over friends who repatriate or children who repatriate themselves, depression, anxiety, familial discord, as well as issues surrounding cultural identity and acceptance. Meanwhile, issues that I treat in therapy for adults include depression, anxiety, personal growth/stage of life questions, relationships/infidelity, familial discord, and occupational stress.
7) Have you ever been in therapy?
Many times patients will wonder if their psychologist has been in therapy himself. I’ve always found it important to “practice what I preach,” meaning that I too have been a patient in therapy. I feel like this benefits me in my role as a psychologist by helping me to maintain a clearer focus on the issues that my patients are bringing up in their own therapy, while also providing me with some insight and perspective into what it feels like to be a patient in therapy.
8) As a parent, how do I know when it is time to enroll my child in therapy?
Every child will experience some degree of challenges or conflicts, as we know that to be an inevitable part of growing up. It is when those challenges and conflicts become more pervasive or significantly interfere with a child’s day-to-day functioning that it may be time to consider enrolling him/her in therapy. If you feel as though your efforts as a parent are not enough in helping to resolve your child’s issues, or other forms of support (teachers, coaches, clergy, school counselors, etc.) are only treating part of the problem, then perhaps a referral to a psychologist would be helpful.
9) Will I be a part of my child’s therapy process?
Absolutely. While your role in therapy may shift given your child’s age and developmental stage, I am a firm believer in taking a family-focused approach to treating a child presenting issues and concerns. This may include parent collateral and/or family therapy sessions in addition to your child’s individual therapy sessions, as well as providing you with tips and feedback between sessions to help create a home environment that supports the child’s growth and healing.
Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any other questions or concerns that you would like answered before starting the therapy process.