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Is therapy right for me?

Anyone can benefit from CBT, because no matter how well we're doing, we could always use a sounding board for a different way of looking at things which upset us.  However, therapy may be the right choice for you if your symptoms or problems are:
          ◊ impacting your daily living
          ◊ creating problems at work, with friends, or in your relationships
          ◊ disturbing your sleep or appetite
          ◊ potentially risky or harmful to you or someone else
          ◊ upsetting or embarrassing to you
          ◊ continuing to recur between periods of wellness

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

A psychologist has a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. and has at least 5 years of graduate training.  Both are mental health professionals who are trained to diagnose psychological disorders and provide psychotherapy, but a Ph.D. has additional training in scientific research methods and studies of psychological disorders and treatment methods.  Psychologists do not prescribe medication.

Psychiatrists have an M.D. and primarily prescribe and monitor medication therapies.  While some psychiatrists practice psychotherapy, the majority choose to provide medication management only. 

It is not uncommon for a patient to have a both a psychologist for therapy and a psychiatrist for medication, and for the two professionals to coordinate their care for the patient's optimal treatment outcome.

Do I need medication?

This varies for each individual.  Some people benefit quite well from psychotherapy alone, and others find that a combination of verbal therapy and medication are most helpful.  As a clinician, I may recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist about the possibility of medication if I feel it might be helpful or needed.

Can we talk before I come in?

I am happy to offer an initial brief telephone consultation at no cost prior to setting up an appointment.  During this conversation you would have the opportunity to tell me a little bit about your reason for seeking therapy and your goals, and we could discuss whether therapy is the right choice for you.  Please note that this conversation is not a full therapy session, but a brief, informal consultation lasting 10 minutes or so.  If you decide you would like to come in, we can schedule an appointment.  I offer both daytime and evening hours to accomodate your schedule.

What would happen next?

The first session accomplishes several goals: 1) I can conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation, 2) we can identify your specific treatment goals and I can outline an initial treatment plan for you, and 3) you can get a sense of my personality and how I operate, so that you can decide if you might like to work with me.

Subsequent weekly sessions would follow the treatment plan, with psycho-education about CBT methods, cognitive or behavioral exercises, or exposure activities.  Depending on your reason for seeking therapy, sessions might also focus on any new issues or events which arose during the past week.  At times, homework assignments may be given for completion between sessions, in which case the past week's homework might be discussed during the session.

Termination of treatment is a decision we would make together, and ideally would be preceeded by several "maintenence" sessions which would be 2 or 3 weeks apart.
 

How long will it take?

This varies for each individual.  Some people find that 10-12 sessions are enough to relieve their symptoms sufficiently, while others find they require long-term therapy, or maintenance, to remain symptom-free.  These differences depend on several factors:
          ◊ the nature and severity of their symptoms
          ◊ the severity of the patient's psychosocial stressors
          ◊ the patient's motivation and compliance with treatment
          ◊ whether new issues arise during the course of treatment

Do my family members or significant other have to participate?

While you are not required to have family members or a significant other participate in sessions, there may be situations where it is beneficial.  If this is the case, we could discuss the possibility and decide together if it would be right for you.

Will my information be kept private?

Absolutely. 

No information about you or your treatment will be released to anyone unless you sign a consent for me to do so.  However, you may choose to do this if you want me to communicate with your physician, psychiatrist, lawyer, teacher, clergy person, employer, family member or significant other. 

It is important for you to know that in the event of serious and imminent danger to yourself or others, I am obligated to act to prevent such harm, which may result in releasing your health-care information without your prior consent.  However, I make every effort not to do so without first informing my patient.  This is a very rare occurrence, and I always discuss this issue in the initial session.

Does my insurance cover therapy?

Some insurances cover psychotherapy, but I do not accept all insurances.  However, if your policy carries out-of-network benefits, I will gladly provide you with the documentation needed to obtain your own reimbursement.

Contact me for further information about insurance and fees.

Still have questions?

No Problem!  Please contact me with any questions you may have, or if you would like to speak to me or set up an appointment.  There is no charge for a telephone consultation or answering an email. 

You may email me at drzoewilliams@outlook.com or call me at (516) 606-4261.  If you get my voice mail, I am either in session or away from my phone.  In this case, please leave me a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.