FAQs

What is therapy?
Therapy is an opportunity to discuss/talk about issues that are important to the client, while having a trained objective therapist help work through current and past situations. Therapy can be about one specific problem, or it can be about multiple issues. Developing and improving your healthy thinking patterns and empowering yourself through the process of therapy does not require having a severe behavioral health disorder. Therapy is a collaborative event, it requires an active role from both the client and the therapist for change to occur.

What are the benefits of therapy?
The benefits can be numerous. Some basic benefits are:
• Develop new perspectives and life skills so that you can free yourself from habitual patterns of anxiety, depression, and self-criticism.
• Reclaim your sense of personal power. Learn to take responsibility and move forward in your life rather than feeling stuck, helpless and hopeless.
• Find ways to relate to emotional or physical suffering so that inevitable suffering brings wisdom and compassion rather than depression and anger.
• Improve the quality of your relationships by developing more life affirming behaviors.
• Feel better about yourself
• Feel more at peace
• Feel more connected with people in your life
• Reduce stress
• Understand your own thoughts, feelings and responses better
• Improve your ability to manage future issues
• Learn to talk on a deeper level
• Learn to discover the thrill of self-knowledge
• Learn to listen well

What is the real job of a therapist?
“The real job of therapy is to get to know yourself better and change the way you’re thinking, the way you’re behaving, or the way you’re understanding the world,” says Stephanie Smith, Ph.D. “The process of therapy is not to give good give advice.” Sure, they might tell you about strategies to cope with a mental illness like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, but when it comes to your personal life decisions, they’re more of a facilitator. “Do you really want to come to therapy to give your power away to someone else or do you want to learn to have that power on your own?” says Ryan Howes, Ph.D.

How will I know if I have selected the right therapist for me?
You really need to meet face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what the therapist is like as a person and as a professional. At the first meeting you should keep these questions in mind:
• How easy is it to talk to the therapist?
• Does the therapist seem confident and competent?
• Do I feel comfortable and safe with the therapist?
• Do I like the therapist and am I being heard, understood respected and challenged?

“What research tells us is that of all the different variables in therapy ... one of the biggest factors in therapy success is fit.” says Stephanie Smith Ph.D.

What will probably happen at my first session?
Your first session with the therapist will be different from future visits. The initial visit is a period for your therapist to gather necessary information. You will be asked about what brings you to therapy. You will be asked what you feel is wrong, any symptoms you are experiencing and your history. Future visits will address your personal goals and will be more therapeutic in nature.

How long will therapy last?
There is no required amount of time for therapy. Each situation and patient is different, therefore each case is assessed individually. On you first or second visit your therapist will be able to make a suggestion, although it especially depends upon the patient and their desire to reach their individual goals. Each visit will last from 45 – 60 minutes.

Can I contact my therapist during an emergency situation?
Our clinical staff is committed to the safety and security of our patients. We offer 24 hour call services. Upon the close of business, patients in crisis are directed to our call service utilizing our main contact number, where calls are screened. At this point, depending on the circumstances, you may be directed to the local emergency room, or your therapist or a colleague will return your call.

Does couples counseling really work?
According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, research indicates that couples and family counseling is helpful for relationships. Greater than 75% of couples were better off than those in the same situation that did not receive counseling. The couples that went to counseling reported a “significant” improvement in relationship satisfaction. One of the main factors that can determine the effectiveness of marriage counseling is the motivation level of both partners. For some couples, marriage counseling is really divorce counseling because they've already thrown in the towel. For others, they haven't taken the time to choose a therapist who is a good fit for them. Lisa Benson, Meghan McGinn, and Andrew Christensen published a major review of over 40 years of research on couples therapy (Benson et al., 2012) in which they synthesized the approaches of the most successful methods of intervention. They've boiled down this massive amount of research to show that across major theoretical orientations within the field, couples can benefit when they receive treatment that follows five underlying principles.

•   Changes the Views of the Relationship. Throughout the therapeutic process, the therapist attempts to help both partners see the relationship in a more objective manner. They learn to stop the "blame game" and instead look at what happens to them as a process involving each partner. They also can benefit from seeing that their relationship takes place in a certain context.
•   Modifies Dysfunctional Behavior. Effective couples therapists attempt to change the way that the partners actually behave with each other.
•   Decreases Emotional Avoidance. Couples who avoid expressing their private feelings put themselves at greater risk of becoming emotionally distant and hence grow apart.
•   Improves Communication. Being able to communicate is one of the "three C's" of intimacy. All effective couples’ therapies focus on helping the partners to communicate more effectively.
•   Promotes Strengths. Effective couple’s therapists point out the strengths in the relationship and build resilience particularly as therapy nears a close.

How can I obtain medication?
Medication is provided to patients based on medical necessity and desired outcome. Medication can be prescribed by a Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner specializing in Mental Health or your personal physician. If you would like to be assessed for medication needs, we can provide an assessment and consult with your primary care provider, however we do not prescribe medications.

What will happen if I have a problem that cannot be treated or addressed at the Carolina Centre?
While the staff at Carolina Centre has tremendous breath and expertise in their clinical skills, there are problems we encounter from time to time that need to be referred elsewhere for evaluation or treatment. In this case, your therapist will discuss with you the need for referral and together we will decide the next step.

Your therapist probably will not acknowledge you in public unless you acknowledge first.
Therapists in general, will not acknowledge clients in public unless the client initiates the acknowledgment, and even then, they will not acknowledge that they are your therapist unless you do so first.

Stopping Therapy Doesn’t Mean You Can Never Go Back.


References: Stephanie Smith, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in Colorado; Ryan Howes, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and professor at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology; and Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., associate executive director of Practice Research and Policy at the American Psychological Association.