Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker?
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a social worker trained in psychotherapy who helps individuals deal with a variety of mental health and daily living problems to improve overall functioning. An LCSW has a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW) from an accredited school of social work and has studied sociology, growth and development, mental health theory and practice, human behavior/social environment, psychology, and research methods. An LCSW has completed a minimum of 3200 hours of supervised clinical practice and has passed two mandated state tests to obtain the ability to work independently.
What is an Associate Social Worker
Associate Social Workers (ASW) have a Master's in Social Work (MSW) from an accredited school of social work. ASW's must have associate status for at least 104 weeks until they have completed 3,200 hours of supervised work experience. An Associate Social Worker must meet with a clinical supervisor each week. This can entail one hour of individual or two hours of group supervision. Any time an ASW carries out more than 10 hours of psychotherapy in a given week, they are required to have double the usual amount of direct supervision time.
What will happen during my first visit?
Your first therapy appointment is an intake session. This session will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes. You and your therapist will work together to clarify the issues that brought you into therapy and to consider which services will be most appropriate for you. During the first meeting, information about your past, your family history, your personal relationship history, as well as your intellectual and emotional functioning will be discussed. This information will assist in determining which therapeutic strategies might be most helpful for you. With this information in mind, we will then determine how to formulate your initial goals.
If you are bringing your child into therapy for the first time, your child's therapist will request that the first meeting (the intake) be with the parents only in the event sensitive subject matter that is not age appropriate needs to be revealed/discussed.
What is Psychotherapy?
Called "therapy" for short, the word psychotherapy actually involves a variety of treatment techniques. During psychotherapy, a person talks to a trained mental health care professional who helps him or her identify and work through factors and stressors that have brought them into therapy. Therapy isn't only for crisis or people with mental health diagnosis. Many clients are everyday people who just need guidance and a sounding board for life's ups and downs.
What Happens Next?
The first few sessions after the intake are usually spent clarifying the problem and examining what solutions have already been attempted. During this phase your therapist may ask more questions about some of the information gathered in the intake to gain a broader understanding about you. Once given the chance to clarify your issues, your therapist will be better able to formulate realistic, achievable, short and long term plans and goals.
After much of the history gathering and clarification is complete work will begin towards learning new problem-solving or coping skills, increasing self-understanding, exploring life patterns, and gaining a better sense of how you are influenced by relationships and your surroundings. Your therapist will focus on your unique strengths and past success experiences in this phase of treatment. Together, you and your therapist will identify and implement the most effective solutions based on your unique circumstances.
Can my therapist prescribe medication?
No, only a medical doctor can prescribe psychotropic medications. However, most therapists are familiar with the potential effects of psychiatric medications, so although we cannot prescribe medications for you, with your written consent, your therapist can certainly work with your prescribing physician to see if medication is necessary or if your current medication should be changed to assist you in meeting your needs and goals.
What do I do if I have an issue or concern with my therapy?
It is important to address any concerns you have about your therapeutic relationship, including any expectations or concerns you have about the therapeutic process. You have a right to be informed, and our philosophy here is that it is the treating clinician's responsibility to address your concerns.
What happens if I need to re-schedule or cancel an appointment?
You are welcome to cancel or request a reschedule of your appointment at least 24 hours in advance to your scheduled appointment time. If an appointment is missed or cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, you will be billed according to the full scheduled fee (your full private pay rate or your full co-pay plus insurance portion since insurances do not pay for missed appointments). Unfortunately we are not able to offer exceptions to this policy due to rising costs in providing mental health services as well as an increase in appointment needs by others.
How does Psychotherapy Help?
Psychotherapy helps people to understand their behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to his or her current predicaments and learn how to modify them.
It also helps clients to understand and identify the life problems or events -- like a major illness, a death in the family, a loss of a job, or a divorce -- that contribute to his or her feelings and help him/her understand which aspects of those problems he/she may be able to solve or improve. Therapy can help people regain a sense of control and pleasure in life through the development of healthy coping techniques and problem solving skills.