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Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing personal issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many sorts of issues including depression, anxiety, relational conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, life transitions, and behavior problems in children and adolescents. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of his or her life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, identifying new strategies for change, and working toward improvement and growth.

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations and times in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need to look at things from another angle in order to consider solutions they may have overlooked.  This reflects a strength of character and something to be admired.  You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy can provide support and long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, change damaging patterns, and overcome challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and school performance and behavior problems in children and adolescents. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communication and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
  • Providing your daughter or son with an objective, supportive, and professional "coach" for the changes she or he needs to make

What is therapy like? 

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and his or her specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, each lasting forty-five to fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. Often you will be encouraged to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as monitoring some of your thoughts or behaviors, trying out a new behavior, or reading a relevant book. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, support, respect, and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for making positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • Is the psychologist I want to see in my network (Michael J. Brissett, Ph.D. or Donald L Davidson, Ph.D., both licensed psychologists)
  • If Dr. Brissett or Dr. Davidson is not in my network, do I have out-of-network benefits to see them.
  • If I will be using my out-of-network benefits, what is the allowed fee each session?
  • Do I have a deductible and, if so, how much is it?  How much of it have I already met?
  • How much is my co-insurance payment each session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • Does my plan cover couples and family sessions, or only individual sessions?  If so, are the benefits the same?
  • Is pre-authorization required?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
If you need help determining or understanding your insurance benefits or just feel overwhelmed with this process, Jeanne, our Office Manager, will be happy to assist you.  You can reach Jeanne at 770-638-1577, X 3.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychologist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required or allowed by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation or dependant adult or elder abuse. The psychologist is required by state law to report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation to the appropriate authorities.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The psychologist has a duty to notify the police and warn the identified other person.
  • If the psychologist has reasonable cause to believe that a client intends to harm himself or herself. The psychologist will make every effort to work with the client to ensure his or her safety. However, if the client does not cooperate, additional steps may need to be taken to try and protect the safety of the client.
In addition, it is important to understand that the confidentiality of e-mail communications between a client and their psychologist cannot be insured due to the nature of online communications and the internet.  If you choose to communicate with one of us via e-mail, please be aware that while we will treat any information received or provided as confidential, it is beyond our ability to insure confidential transmission of that information over the internet.   We are also unable to respond to friend requests over Facebook, Linkedin or other social networking sites as this could also jeoparadize client confidentialty.