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Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling and Therapy (Psychotherapy)

Counseling FAQ

Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon is a practicing psychotherapist in Plantation, Florida. She offers individual psychotherapy, couples therapy, marriage counseling, family therapy & counseling for children and teens.

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How do I find a good therapist?

That’s a very important question because the “therapeutic alliance”, that is, the fit between the therapist and the client accounts for an important portion of success in psychotherapy. When looking for a therapist, first make sure that the professional you are considering is appropriately licensed and has experience helping individuals with issues similar to yours. Then, make a first appointment. This will help you determine if the therapist seems to understand what you are experiencing and is able to begin offering some guidance to help you start feeling better and work toward your treatment or personal growth goals. If after the first session, you feel comfortable with the therapist, and felt understood and respected, then try a few more sessions. It’s usually a little difficult to tell just from one session if your therapy will be helpful and productive.

What if my therapy is not really helpful to me?

That happens sometimes, and the best way to approach it is to discuss that with your therapist. Most therapists are trained and experienced in a variety of different counseling approaches and styles, and can make changes to your therapy sessions to help you get the maximum benefit. Don’t be shy! Speak up about what’s not working, what you’d like more of, etc. Good therapists welcome this type of feedback. It helps us tailor our services and improve our skills so that we can be more effective.

Will therapy work for me?

Research shows that therapy is helpful to most people. Studies have also shown that the people who benefit the most from therapy participated in weekly counseling sessions for three to six months. Some people also find they feel better or achieve their therapy goals in a shorter amount of time, but often people quit too soon and don’t get the full benefit of counseling. Here’s a great article to learn how to get the most your of your time in therapy: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/therapists-spill-8-ways-clients-spoil-their-progress-in-therapy-how-to-change-that/

How long are counseling sessions?

Depending on the therapist, sessions are usually about 45 to 50 minutes. In my office, I use the 45-minute format. I’ve found that the extra 5 minutes does not make a significant difference in the quality of sessions, and this format allows me to offer more flexible scheduling times, especially in the evenings.

How much does therapy cost?

That varies by therapist and in South Florida I’ve seen rates range from $90 to $225 per session. There are many reasons for that range, from office location (for example, rents in certain areas are higher than in others), amount of schooling and training a therapist has, experience, and specialty areas. For patients with health insurance coverage, therapists who participate with your insurance will have rates determined by your insurance company and insurance benefits.

I tried counseling before and it didn’t work. Why should I try again?

Since the fit between the therapist and the client, as well as the therapist’s experience and training in a particular area can affect the result of therapy, your past results are not predictive of your future results in counseling. When seeing a new psychotherapist, make sure you share with them what didn’t work for you before. This way, you can work collaboratively with your current therapist to have a better result this time.

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2 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling and Therapy (Psychotherapy)

  1. Counselor December 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    In choosing the right therapist,research is the best thing to do.Anything that seems not working in the therapy must be consulted immediately or any concerns.Never shy to ask.They are there to help not to judge.I learned a lot from your post.Thanks for sharing.

    • admin December 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you for your comment; I’m glad you found my post useful. You are correct that therapists are interested in helping you get the most out of your therapy, so if you feel something is off-track, discuss it with your therapist so the two of you can make adjustments. -Dr. Chantal

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