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      Nancy Hayes-Gary, Psy,D,

By hayesgaryn39097435, Jul 17 2015 05:24PM

Posted by nancehg@comcast.net on Oct 3, 2013 in Resources/Blog | 0 comments

How to Choose a Therapist

By Nancy Hayes-Gary, Psy,D.

Initially, it can appear to be a daunting task to select the right therapist for you. There are many to chose from, and their profiles usually sound pretty good, don’t they? If you have already been in therapy, you have the advantage of knowing what worked for you in the way of therapist style, personality, approach and the like,..and probably what didn’t work, Regardless, it is usually a good idea to start off with a list of what you know you want. Is it important that the therapist be male or female, older or younger, or of one type of approach or another. Some people just know that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is right for them, while others who want to work more on identity or relationships may prefer an object relations therapist.

After brainstorming your list of criteria, scour the web, as many therapists have web sites and directory listings that provide a good deal of information about them. It is not a bad idea to choose two therapists to start with, and schedule two consultation sessions to ascertain which might offer the best fit for you. Probably the most important question to keep in mind is what it will be like to be in a close relationship with this person, and initial consults can assist with this rather intangible element. Come to these sessions armed with a list of your questions, such as how much experience the therapist has with your particular concern, or with treating children/adolescents if you are a parent pursuing this search. Therapists should be glad to take the time to address your questions and concerns with data about themselves like education, training, experience, and style of work. Pragmatically, you need to know if your scheduling needs can be accommodated, and whether you are limited to an insurance network of therapists, or have benefits allowing you to choose whoever you want as an out-of-network provider.

Having said all this, it probably boils down to “trusting your gut sense” of whom is the best choice for you. This is an important investment of your time, energy, and finances, so the right relationship is extremely important. Of course, if after several sessions the therapy is not feeling like a good fit for you, or you are not feeling heard or getting any beginning results in the way of feeling better, it would be wise to bring this up with the therapist, or even re-think your choice. Therapy can change your life in so many ways, so its important to invest the time finding the therapist most likely to suit your particular needs and concerns.

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By hayesgaryn39097435, Jul 16 2015 05:54PM

Posted by nancehg@comcast.net on Oct 14, 2013 in Resources/Blog | 0 comments

By Nancy Hayes-Gary, Psy.D.

There are many reasons why psychotherapy is beneficial to people, but you might wonder how it works, especially if you have never been to see a therapist. Many people have been thinking about going to therapy for a very long time, but are somewhat threatened to make that call to schedule an appointment. Often, things that trouble people have gotten stacked up and are in a crisis mode when they finally decide to attend therapy. When people wait this long, it often leaves them feeling very depressed or anxious, or alone with their worries. Maybe knowing just how therapy works will serve to make that first session a bit easier.

Therapy should provide a safe relationship, with confidentiality and trust. Confidentiality is both a legal and ethical law, requiring the therapist to keep all communications private, unless someone will be harmed from doing so i.e. suicide or homicide. Obviously, this type of relationship takes time to form and involves a good “fit”. This means that you feel comfortable with the therapist’s personality, skills, and approach. At the beginning of therapy, you may have to let the therapist know if they are saying or doing something that is making it difficult for you. Usually, the first few sessions involve evaluating your concerns and coming up with a joint plan for treating these together. It is often a relief to a person to recognize that their symptoms are, in fact, treatable.

Trust comes more slowly to some people than others, especially if you have felt betrayed or hurt in your previous relationships. Ways of learning to trust your therapist can involve determining whether the things she says or does seem to convey understanding and empathy about what you are saying, and is she working to provide a supportive atmosphere for exploration and change. The therapy relationship should relatively quickly evolve into an empathic, honest, and close relationship in which you can have the luxury of a space in time set aside just to focus on you—your troubling thoughts, worries, problems, and angers. The best therapy relationship becomes one in which you can say anything that is on your mind or has been a secret in a safe relationship of nonjudgmental acceptance. For some people, it is the first time that they have experienced being accepted just for being themselves, and this can be healing.

In my opinion, no matter what problems you bring in to work on, good therapy usually strives to assist with integration of identity and more satisfying relationships with others. Everyone has experiences in which parts of themselves become cut off or separated from the rest. This creates internal conflict and symptoms like unresolved anger or sadness. Working to integrate these cut off parts creates a sense of wholeness. Therapy is about learning to be you and accepting yourself without negative judgments.

Almost everyone wants to learn to be more vulnerable and closer to those they love, but past experiences or negative patterns in relationships may impede this wish. Therapy can work toward resolving the things that get in the way of presenting yourself as authentic to significant others so that you can openly share your internal thoughts, feelings, and struggles. As well, you can explore the way you have learned to relate to others, and learn patterns of relating that will assist others in more open communication with you.

People bring to therapy terribly uncomfortable symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, and loneliness. Often they feel skeptical that these long term conditions can be treated and alleviated. No matter what approaches your therapist uses, if the therapeutic alliance is similar to that which is described above, and you are willing to be persistent and motivated to change, therapy is usually beneficial. Therapy involves a substantial investment in time, money, and hard work. However, when you think about being symptom free, accepting of yourself, and satisfied in your interpersonal relationships, therapy may seem like a quite a good investment.

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Nancy Hayes-Gary, Psy.D.,

Licensed Psychologist

1615 York Rd., Suite #302

Lutherville Timonium, MD. 21093

(410) 321-5727

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