Frequently asked questions
Q. How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counsellors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behaviour patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or romantic relationship
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Q: Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. Accessing a therapist when you have a problem you can't figure out is like seeing your dentist when you have toothache, or your doctor when you have stomach pain, or a physiotherapist when you've hurt your shoulder. Psychotherapy does not need to take long. Psychotherapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Q. Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, New Zealand legislation and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Q. What if I've had a really bad experience with a therapist or have not found therapy particularly helpful in the past?
Some folks we see may have had traumatic or unhelpful experiences with previous practitioners. It's very understandable to feel stressed about the whole thing after these instances, so interviewing a potential therapist can assist in putting you back in the driver's seat. We advise anyone we meet who is considering therapy, to "interview" a potential therapist on the telephone for about 10 minutes to see if they are able to make you feel comfortable during that time, and ensure you get the feeling they're competent. Then ask the potential therapist for some time to think about the phone call. If you didn't feel good about the phone call, then don't call them back! Keep exploring your options.