For many, this is their first time coming to therapy. It is very common to have questions and important to get your questions answered to your satisfaction. Over the years these are the questions that we most frequently hear. If your question is not answered here please feel free to contact to talk to someone directly or send us an email with your questions.
What is the difference between counseling and therapy?
In our society the words counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably. To simplify things most therapists do not distinguish between the two. There are some subtle differences. To be precise “counselor” means “advisor.” Counseling in the traditional use of the word was referencing to advice giving discussions that is typically short-term. Therapy is a shortened version of psychotherapy. The “psycho” refers to psychological but the “psycho” became a stigma for crazy, which is why that term is used much less frequently. Psychotherapy or therapy is intended to be depth oriented and looks at the psychological processes that occur for human beings and often occurs over a longer period of time. Therapy requires specific training and education and while a therapist can provide counseling a counselor doesn’t often have the training to practice psychotherapy.
How long will this take?
This answer varies with each person and depends on what you want out of therapy. We typically work with clients over a longer period of time (6-12 months or longer). Most people report a greater benefit having a type of “life coach” to utilize in maintaining the changes they’ve made. It is also helpful to have a built-in support system in what we call “keeping the conversation going.” The way we practice allows you to learn a language and a way of approaching life that is very different to how the world speaks. However, some clients have very specific needs and prefer to be goal oriented in therapy rather than process oriented. These clients are likely to get those needs met in less than 6 months. It is important that therapy is working towards your desired outcome. Your therapist will make recommendations but you will make the final decision.
How often do I need to come?
In the beginning we recommend that you come weekly as 1 hour a week is actually not a lot of time compared to the other 6 days and 23 hours of your life. Coming weekly in the beginning helps to keep the momentum going and the information fresh for you. In life we develop helpful and unhelpful habits. “Habit energy” is incredibly strong and change requires patience, commitment and willingness on your part. While we recommend weekly, we will accommodate your needs and wants. Sometimes finances are an issue or work/life demands make it difficult to do weekly sessions. Your therapist will discuss the recommendations based on your specific goals for therapy as well as consider any limitations you may have. After a period of time you may decide to can come bi-monthly or monthly if that feels supportive to you. As you become more adept at this new lens you will feel less of a “need” for the sessions and see them more as adjunctive and may begin to come on an “as needed” basis or stop altogether. Our approach is collaborative; it is a conversation between you and your therapist and in the end you will decide what is best for you.
Do we take insurance?
We do not take insurance. We are considered “out of network” providers. If you have a PPO insurance we can supply you with a Superbill that you can submit to your insurance and they will reimburse you directly, according to your plan. We do accept HSA (health savings account) cards. Additionally, many insurance companies have guidelines about whether care provided by a Registered MFT intern will be covered by insurance so please verify with your insurance if you will be working with a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern.
Do we prescribe medications?
We do not have a Psychiatrist on staff and do not prescribe any medications. In order to provide the highest level of care your therapist will collaborate with any other treatment providers you are working with. If you are looking for a Psychiatrist, we can offer referrals. All decisions regarding medication are to be handled between you and your physician.
How do your therapists work?
The “type” of therapy that we provide here at CFMR is collaborative and grounded in the theories of Humanistic, Existential, Family Systems, Attachment, Psychodynamic and Mindfulnees Practices. The founders of CFMR have named the integration of these ideas Compassion Based Awareness Therapy (CBAT). For more details about CBAT visit the “Our Philosophy” section of the website. While each therapist is trained in CBAT, every therapist due to their own uniqueness will express the ideas of CBAT in their own way. With couples our therapists utilize the foundations of CBAT along with Imago Relationship Therapy, which was created by a husband and wife team, Harville Hendricks, Ph.D and Helen Hunt, Ph.D. Feel free to read each therapists Bio page to get a better feel for them individually. Each therapist offers a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to answer any further questions you have.
How do I pick a therapist?
Picking a therapist is very personal. There is no “right” therapist for every person. We recommend that you talk with a therapist directly to answer any questions you have as well as get a feel for their personality and style. Research has consistently shown that the relationship between client and therapist is the most important aspect to allow for the client to have a positive therapeutic experience. It is imperative that you believe that you feel comfortable with your therapist, that you believe the therapist has something to offer you and that you are willing to be influenced and challenged by the therapist. You will be sharing vulnerable aspects of yourself and trust is crucial. This is why each therapist at CFMR offers a free 20-minute phone consultation. Below are some suggested questions to consider for your self and the therapist.
- What are the therapist’s credentials?
- How does the therapist work with _________ (whatever issue you are dealing with)? This is called a “theoretical orientation.” Here at CFMR the theory is Compassion Based Awareness Therapy (see Our Philosophy for specific details).
- How much experience does the therapist have?
- Do you have a preference for a male of female?
- Is it important to you that a therapist has direct experience with the issue you are struggling with?
- If you are seeking therapy as a couple of for your child or family, how much experience does the therapist have working with couples or children or families? There is a specific skill set to working with couples, families and children and not all therapists have advanced training and experience with these clients.
- When talking with the therapist does the therapist seem open to being questioned or giving you direct answers to your questions? Does the therapist seem interested in you?
Other factors that may play a part in your decision are costs, location, availability and insurance coverage.
What is the difference between an intern and a licensed therapist?
At CFMR we employ both Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFT) and Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Interns (MFTI). A licensed therapist (LMFT) is one who has earned either a Masters or Doctorate degree in Psychology, obtained 3000 hours of required hours of direct experience working with clients and passed the California licensing exams. A Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern (MFTI) has earned a Master’s degree in Psychology, has completed at minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact and is registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences. They can provide counseling and psychotherapy services under the supervision of a licensed therapist; an AAMFT Approved Supervisor supervises all of our interns. The main difference is in the years of experience a therapist has been practicing.