7 Ways to get the most “bang for your buck” in therapy

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Hopefully I don’t put myself out of a job, but I will be the first to admit- Therapy is expensive! In Naperville, Illinois (a Western suburb of Chicago), a 50 minute session can range anywhere from $150-$280.  Insurance is an option for some, but we all know the status of our healthcare system these days and who wants an insurance company telling them how many sessions they’re allowed to attend?

Although costly, there is great value in the therapeutic process. Clients often experience emotional relief, a sense of support and learn tools to cope with the issues that brought them to therapy.


A guide to get the most “bang for your buck” when you start counseling.

 

1. Before you start…STOP and commit!

Understanding the befits of counseling and working to overcome some of the stigma  associated with it, will save you tons of time and money. This can be challenging- be sure to reach out to people you trust.

2. Be an educated consumer!

With instant information at our fingertips, we have unlimited options.

  • Learn the difference of counselor credentials in your state
  • Ask people you trust for a referral (ie: your doctor, a trusted friend or family member)
  • Think about the type of therapist you would connect best with: male/female/passive/directive/younger/older

 

3. Try before you buy!

The relationship between you and your therapist is a major catalyst in helping you work towards your goals; ask if they can provide a free phone consultation. This will give you an opportunity to see if they’re  a “good fit” before the first session.

 

4. Therapy is not magic, nor is it a “quick fix”

If this was the case, I would wear a cape to work and you could get therapy at your local Starbucks Drive Thru!

  • Be patient first with yourself- you are a complex and unique individual, exploring your issues and learning to cope with them takes time, patience and understanding.
  • Secondly, be patient with your therapist- our top priority is to help you. We can’t, unless we understand you- and that also takes time and patience.
  • There is no “magic number” of how long it will take you to overcome your struggles- that is a very personal and individual process.

 

5. Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it is bad for you.

If change were easy and pleasant, we would all be living ideal versions of ourselves! The reality is: change can be an uncomfortable process that can stir up some emotions that can be tough to handle. At the same time, having an expert in your corner, who can support you in managing these feelings and challenge your fears is very re-assuring!

 

6. Come prepared.

We love our clients and the work that we do! We put all else aside when we meet with you. For that one hour, we give our attention, focus and care 100% to you. Please come prepared to do the same for yourself. Honor the time you spend on bettering your life by being present and open to change.

 

7. If it is not helping~ please say so.

If you bought a pair of pants and they didn’t fit, would you keep trying them on every week?

  • Maybe, but you would bet it would be pretty frustrating! The same goes for therapy.
  • Treatment is an extremely individualized, unique process for everyone; it can take some time to find what works best.
  • Don’t assume that just because your therapist is an expert in counseling, they are an expert in what works specifically for you.
  • Be vocal about what you find helpful and what you do not… trust me, we appreciate the feedback!

Keep these tips in mind and you can save yourself a ton of money! But don’t forget that it’s not the dollar amount that defines the value in therapy- its you.

Best of luck,

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

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www.thecenterelifetherapy.com

 

First session?

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What to Expect:

There are many barriers that can stand in the way of making a decision to start psychotherapy; time, resources, motivation, support, shame, anxiety… Which is why the simple action of making that first call or searching for a provider online, is so much to be celebrated! If you’re at this stage, STOP. Take a moment to give yourself credit for overcoming these major obstacles!

Feeling nervous… Just as with anything we do for the first time, it’s expected to have a little anxiety about the first session. Try seeking support from a family member of friend who has had experince with counseling. Also, feel free to contact your provider and ask any questions you may have about the process. Remind yourself why you sought counseling in the first place…. do you seek relief, healing or support? These are important things to remember if you feel nervous about your first session.

When you arrive… As with other medical professional offices, you can expect a little paperwork your first session, The Centered Life has our forms available on the website to save you some time, if you want to come prepared! Do not expect a long wait… Our professionals are very diligent in managing time schedules and will greet you promptly!

A comfortable environment…. Unlike a medical office, our private spaces are designed like a home living environment, offering warm and cold beverages and light snacks are also some of our ways to show hospitality and help our clients feel more at “at home.”

The Theraputic relationship… It’s important to know, that just like all of your other relationships (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors), the therapeutic relationship is the same, in that it will take time to develop, grow and strengthen. Therapists understand this very well and encourage clients to go at their own pace in sharing intimate details about their inner emotional experiences. It is likely that your first session wI’ll focus on building rapport with your therapist, understanding the therapeutic process and helping your therapist to understand some of the reasons you sought their services.

Before you go… Take an opportunity to ask your therapist any questions that came up for you. The end of your session will be the time when you discuss frequency of your sessions and scheduling. Don’t forget to get the contact information of your therapist and The Centered Life, in case any questions come up after you leave the office!

Take a deep breath… Give yourself recognition for doing something brave… You took a step towards healing and wellness!

 ~The Centered Life Staff