The Process of Therapy
By participating in therapy, you may experience multiple benefits, including improved personal relationships and the resolutions of specific concerns that led you to seek therapy. Working toward your goals requires effort on your part, including your active involvement, honesty, and openness in order to change your thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors. At times, change will be easy and rapidly accomplished, but more often, it will be slow and may even be frustrating.
Your psychologist will ask you about your views on therapy and your progress in therapy, and expect you to respond openly and honestly. While in therapy, you may remember and talk about unpleasant events, thoughts, behaviors, and memories that can result in your experiencing discomfort and/or strong feelings of anger, sadness, worry, fear, etc. Your psychologist may challenge some of your assumptions or perceptions and propose different ways of looking at, thinking about, or handling situations, thoughts, and emotions that may lead you to feel upset, angry, depressed, challenged, or disappointed. Attempting to resolve issues that brought you to therapy may lead to changes that were not originally intended. For example, a decision that is favorable to one family member, may be experienced negatively by another family member.
Your First Session
At your first session, please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to fill out paperwork. In the waiting room, a clipboard with necessary documents will be left with STEM Psychological Services labeled at the top. Please fill this out and then press the wireless doorbell labeled for STEM; your psychologist will call you in at your designated appointment time. Alternately, you may print the documents from the Forms page and bring them with you pre-filled and arrive at your scheduled appointment time.
The first session (intake) tends to be more structured than a typical therapy session and your psychologist will have some specific questions she will ask regarding your history, what is bringing you in, and your goals for therapy. Future sessions will be less structured and content will be client-directed.
Psychologists at STEM normally conduct evaluations lasting from 2 to 4 sessions. During this time, you and she can work together to decide if she is the best person to provide services to you in order to meet your treatment goals. There is no guarantee that psychotherapy will yield positive or intended results. During the course of your therapy, your psychologist is likely to draw on various psychological approaches that are related to the problem that brought you to therapy and that are based on her assessment of what may best benefit you. These approaches can include development, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, psychoeducational, interpersonal, and psychodynamic therapies.
All information that you disclose in therapy is confidential and may not be revealed to anyone without your written permission, except when disclosure is required or permitted by law. The following are the primary exceptions to confidentiality:
- Suspected child, elder, or dependent adult abuse must be reported to appropriate protective agencies or law enforcement.
- Danger to harm or kill oneself necessitates that appropriate measures be taken to protect the client.
- If there is a serious threat of harm to another person, there is a legal requirement to inform the intended victim and law enforcement.
- Some legal proceedings – for instance, if you place your mental status at issue in a lawsuit.
- Identifying information that may be provided to a collection agency in order to collect unpaid fees.
- Information provided to your insurance company in order to file claims for services rendered.
- In couples and family counseling, no “secrets” will be kept from those actively participating in therapy. For example, if both wife and husband are seen in therapy together and the wife calls Dr. Cassil during the week and asks that the conversation be kept secret from the husband, the information in the phone call may be revealed to the husband.
- I may occasionally find it helpful to consult with other professionals to ensure the best treatment for you. During a consultation, I make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of my patient. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. If you do not object, I will not tell you about these communications unless I feel it is important to our work together.
These situations have rarely occurred in my practice. If a similar situation occurs, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed with the use of cell phones, e-mail, or faxes. Please notify Dr. Cassil if you wish to avoid their use.
A minimum of 24-hours notice is required for rescheduling or canceling an appointment. You will be charged the full fee for the sessions missed if you do not provide at least 24-hour notification. For clients paying through insurance, a missed session will not be covered by your insurance benefits and will be charged in full to you directly.