Ellen N. Emerson, Ph.D.
You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
What to Expect
Q: What happens at the first session?
A: In the first session, the most important thing is to establish a safe place for you to talk about your concerns. Policies and procedures will be briefly reviewed and then your reasons for coming to therapy will be discussed. Pertinent background information will be gathered and a discussion of your desired outcomes will follow. You will have a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Q: How long will it last?
A: Sessions are usually 45-60 minutes. Most people begin therapy on a weekly basis and many move to a bi-weekly schedule eventually. A treatment plan will be developed with your input, taking into account your schedule, needs, and goals.
Q: What are the risks involved in therapy?
A: Therapy involves some risks and benefits. There is a risk that you may feel uncomfortable levels of sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt, or other negative feelings as you address important issues in your life. You may recall unpleasant memories. Sometimes problems may temporarily worsen after the beginning of treatment. Many people become more assertive and direct in their communication as a result of coming to therapy, which may mean that others in your life have to adjust to the “new you.” Most of these risks are to be expected when people are making important changes in their lives.
While there are risks associated therapy, you should know also that scientists in hundreds of well-designed research studies have shown the benefits of therapy. Depression or irritability may lift and lighten. Previous burdens can be laid to rest. Anxiety and fears may less. People who really engage in therapy find that they have a chance to fully talk things out and find resolution to their difficulties.
Q: How can I get the most out of therapy?
A: Therapy is hard work! You can get the most out of our time together by being prepared to discuss concerns during each session and completing any homework assignments given. The time between sessions is best used to think about and practice new skills we have discussed.
Q: What If We Are Not a Good Match for Each Other? Or I Want to End Therapy?
A: Not every client “clicks” with every therapist. If we are not a good match, I will refer you to someone else who might suit you better. If you do not feel like things are going well, feel free to discuss it with me.
Therapy ends when you want it to end or you have met your goals. You can discuss the ending of therapy at any time.