Frequently asked questions
It is my belief that in order to offer the best therapy experience possible, it is helpful that the clients understands what is expected when they choose to move forward in achieving their goals with our help. Below is are the top seven questions I recieve from new clients. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me here.
Many clients ask me this question, and the answer is always “It depends.” The duration required by therapy depends on the type and severity of the problem sought to be addressed. It also depends on the work you, the client, are willing to put during and between sessions. Research shows that many people begin to experience positive gains in therapy in 6 to 12 sessions (at one session per week, this means within 2 to 3 months). In our personal experience, many of our clients have achieved significant positive change within 4 sessions and have often been able to terminate therapy within 10 to 15 sessions.
Marriage and family therapy can take longer than individual therapy due to the complicated dynamics that naturally result from relationships. Clients can often see an immediate positive shift in their marital or family life when they begin counseling if they implement the techniques discussed during sessions. In marriage counseling, most of my clients often need approximately 4 to 5 individual therapy sessions each and 5 to 10 couples therapy sessions to address the issues they are facing. This all depends on how long couples have waited to tackle the problems that are causing them discomfort as well as the magnitude of the issues being addressed.
I tailor my treatment to each person, couple and family individually and use a targeted approach designed to help you meet your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. I understand that therapy is a commitment of your time and money and I want you to achieve the most that you possibly can in the shortest period of time. The most successful clients are those who are willing to engage in a give and take relationship with the therapist by putting in the work needed to yield lasting change. You will be provided with a safe and supportive place to work through challenges and struggles and to begin to see things in a different way. This requires work on your part as well as a willingness to see and do things differently.
The best thing you can possibly do during therapy is to be as honest and open as possible. This is a judgment-free environment so don’t worry about the things you say and the way they will be perceived. The more you share, the more I will be able to help.
One of the most important things to realize about therapy is that setbacks are not failures. Oftentimes, when there is a setback in a relationship or in progress, many people may mistake this as going backward and they may feel discouraged. In reality, setbacks are a natural part of life and can actually be an indication that you are moving forward in reaching your treatment goals. Forgive yourself if a setback occurs, keep moving forward and you will find yourself back on track and confident in your abilities to face future setbacks.
During sessions, you will talk about the primary concerns you have and issues in your life that led you to seek counseling. It takes a strong and brave person to reach out for help when it is needed and that is a step forward that deserves respect.
The goal of the first one to two sessions will be to get to know as much about your current life situation as possible, especially the issues that brought you in to therapy, assessing your needs and creating goals to achieve through therapy. Although, I take a present-focused approach to issues, we will often explore how past experiences have impacted current thought patterns in order to address them fully. We will explore difficult and uncomfortable emotions, which may mean that you will feel a little worse before you feel better. Realize that this is a part of the therapeutic process. When you explore difficult thoughts, incidents and emotions in a safe space with your therapist, you won’t be ambushed by them at the worst times. Change can be uncomfortable at times but pushing through this discomfort yields growth, achievements and fulfillment.
We often give “homework” to clients to work on between sessions in order to allow them to practice their skills throughout the week and gain as much as they can throughout the therapeutic process. The clients who get the most out of therapy actively participate inside and outside of scheduled therapy sessions.
At the beginning of treatment, therapy sessions are usually scheduled weekly, but as you reach your goals, we will begin to space out sessions to once every two weeks, then once a month before ending completely. This gradual process ensures that you feel comfortable practicing new skills and addressing obstacles that come your way while still receiving support before completely ending therapy. In certain specific cases, clients who are in crisis or really struggling may benefit from more than one session per week but only until the crisis passes.
When people think about therapy, they often picture a client lying down on a couch constantly answering the question “how do you feel?”
That’s not the approach I take. As your therapist, I subscribe to a collaborative and direct approach rather than a neutral one. I will help you explore and make decisions as well as learn new, more effective, ways of looking at and responding to the problems you are dealing with. Through therapy, we will identify symptoms, patterns, problems and areas in your life that are causing you distress and we will work together to develop a plan of action for how to best address these issues.
I utilize a faith-based approach, incorporating Islamic principles along with therapeutic ones with clients who will benefit from this. Research has found that incorporating spirituality and religion into therapy yields positive results. Seeking a Muslim therapist can be very helpful in gaining a holistic approach to counseling that offers both psychological and spiritual help while taking into account cultural context. You can read more about it here.
While online therapy is a great way to get help with many of life’s problems, overwhelming or potentially dangerous challenges are best met with face-to-face professional support. Online therapy is not a universal substitute for face-to-face psychotherapy treatment. Online therapy does not provide emergency services so there are certain mental health issues that would not be appropriate for this type of work. As with all types of therapy, working with a therapist does not substitute for medical care and medication management provided by a psychiatrist or doctor.
- If you are having thoughts of harming yourself (e.g., suicidal thoughts) or harming someone else (e.g., violent thoughts toward others) or psychotic symptoms. Please call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE.
- If you are in an abusive or violent relationship.
- If you have been seriously depressed.
- If you have serious substance abuse dependence.
- If you are a minor (under 18 years old).