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Therapy can help people of all ages work through personal, relationship, family, and/or work/school challenges so that they can move on and enjoy a life that is productive and fulfilling.
At CTC, we view therapy as being collaborative and relational. We believe therapy is effective when there is a strong therapeutic relationship and good fit between the therapist and the client. Our goal is to create a supportive, nonjudgmental environment where you feel comfortable expressing yourself. A good therapist can help you recognize patterns and gain insight while also helping you feel heard, and act toward developing healthier relationships and more effective habits.
You do not have to wait until something is “wrong” to seek therapy. As with any medical issue, prevention and maintenance of your health and well-being are key. You can seek therapy when you notice that there are areas of your life that you would like to improve, when you are feeling down or stuck, when you’d like to work through things that are bothering you from the past or in current situations.
Here is a list of reasons you may want to seek therapy:
- You do not feel like yourself
- You feel angry, scared, sad, hopeless…all/most of the time
- You are using/abusing alcohol, food, shopping, sex…to cope
- You feel anxious or irritable on a regular basis
- You have experienced a significant loss
- You are experiencing difficulties due to a break-up, divorce, or separation
- You have experienced a traumatic event that still impacts you
- You keep thinking about something from the past that is still bothering you
- You are having a hard time adjusting to a life transition
- You are having difficulties in your daily functioning and habits (sleeping, eating, working)
- Your feel out of control and your feelings are negatively impacting your home life, relationships, and work life.
- Your friends/family/co-workers have expressed concerns about you
- You have thoughts of death and dying that are troubling to you
- You are in an unhealthy relationship that is negatively impacting your emotional health and safety
- You want to break unhealthy patterns in your relationships
- You are engaging in self-injurious behaviors
The first session is called an intake or diagnostic intake session. In your first session, your therapist will review your paperwork with you and inform you about your client rights and responsibilities. Your therapist will ask you many questions during your first session because they want to make sure they understand your goals, concerns, day-to- day functioning, and your history. The first 1-2 sessions are more question heavy because your therapist really wants to get a sense of who you are and how your concerns are impacting you. Your therapist will also want to collaborate with you to identify your treatment goals.
Typically, session are 50-55 minutes for adults. For small children sessions, may be 45 minutes long.
Regardless of whether you have been to therapy before or if this is your first session, it is common for clients to feel nervous about meeting with their therapist for the first time. We recommend you carefully complete your paperwork packet and bring the completed packet to your first session. If you are using health insurance, we recommend you verify and understand your health insurance benefits. We encourage you to be detailed and honest. If there are questions that you are unsure about or that make you uncomfortable, it is ok to leave them blank and discuss them with your therapist. We encourage you to arrive 10 minutes early for your session so you can relax in our waiting area. We have tea for you to enjoy while you wait for your appointment.
It is a good idea to suggest your loved one see a therapist if they could benefit from help or advice outside of your comfort level or expertise. Often, we are too close to a person or situation to be fully objective.
It is extremely important to recommend a therapist when your loved one expresses feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or makes statements about life being better without them around. Or, if a friend or loved one is unable to maintain their family, personal, or work responsibilities, professional intervention may be warranted.
It can feel tricky recommending therapy to a loved one because of a stigma related to seeking mental health treatment. Others may assume that seeking mental health treatment is a sign of weakness, or seeing a therapist means a person is “crazy.” This could not be farther from the truth. Although many of us are conditioned to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” or “handle it on our own,” we at CTC believe that seeking therapy is a sign of strength and that therapy can help improve life satisfaction and alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering.
As a parent, you are your child’s biggest support. Only you can understand your child’s needs and deepest desires, their biggest fears, and most untapped talents. There may be moments in life when parents no longer have all the answers to their child’s challenges, and need to seek extra support from a therapist or counselor.
Everyone’s experience is different, and there are a variety of reasons to consider therapy for your child. Some of them are as follows:
- Your child has shown a sudden behavioral change
- Your child seems angry, scared, sad, irritable, and/or hopeless more than usual
- Your child is using/abusing alcohol, food, shopping, sex …to cope
- Your child has experienced a significant loss or change in the family structure
- Your child has experienced a traumatic event
- Your child is having a hard time adjusting to a life transition
- Your child has regressed or is having difficulties in their daily functioning and habits (sleeping, eating, toilet training)
- Your child has many fears or thoughts of death and dying
Starting a conversation with a loved one about your concerns and going to therapy can seem tricky. But bringing up your concerns can be done in simple, non-threatening ways.
- When you have the conversation, choose a place that is private with limited distractions
- Tell them you care about them
- Express your concern in a considerate and non-judgmental manner
- Ask them if they have concerns about how they have been feeling
- Be specific and note the behaviors that have changed. For example, “I have noticed that you are not sleeping at night and you seem tired most of the time” or “You seem overwhelmed. I have noticed that are you often crying or tearful and have expressed that you feel stressed out.”
- Normalize the process of going to therapy by talking about your own positive experience in therapy if you have been in therapy before
- Empower your loved one by talking about going to therapy as a positive action they can take that is within their control
- If you feel overwhelmed by being your loved one’s primary support, be sure to engage in your own self-care by getting support from others or seeking therapy for yourself
- If your loved one refuses to seek assistance, let them know that that is their choice and that you care about them
- Remember that having a conversation about this can plant a seed for a later time if they are not ready right now
CTC is happy to help you with identifying the right resources and providing referrals. Feel free to call us to consult about your situation. We have a wide range of resources within our practice and are networked with other practitioners across Chicago.