washington dc

Frequently Asked Questions

finding the right therapist for you

The search for a therapist is not a very intuitive process in itself; it can be very difficult to browse through many pages of an online directory and still not find someone who checks all the boxes. These are answers to common questions that can come up when looking for a therapist, we hope they are helpful in your search. 

Therapy is a tool to sort through issues, find answers, revisit the past, and explore potential solutions. It often involves a lot of vulnerability and discomfort, some tension, and a lot of relief. Showing up to the sessions is part of the work, and there’s a lot more needed to be able to translate the insights from those sessions into meaningful shifts. 

The first few sessions are usually about who you are, your goals for therapy, and how you’d want your therapist to support you. Subsequent sessions will depend on the therapist’s style and approach, but they usually include reflective questions, specific exercises, and (sometimes) a tear or two. 

People work with a therapist for many different reasons and there’s no specific formula to deciding if you would benefit from seeing one. Some people see a therapist when they are experiencing a crisis, having conflict in their relationship (s), feeling intense sadness or grief, constantly anxious, stuck in life, frustrated with work, inadequate or insecure, wanting to explore their identity, feeling disconnected, or wanting to better understand themselves and their past, so that they can become the best version of themselves they can be.

This is to say, it doesn’t have to be an absolute emergency before you see a therapist, and if it is, you’ve probably waited too long before reaching out for help. 

In essence, it’s time to see a therapist when you feel it’s time to see a therapist.

No, it will not. Therapy can be a support on the path to become a more grounded, confident, self-aware version of yourself; but it’ll ultimately be you who makes any needed shifts to get there.

That depends on what you’re wanting out of therapy and whether you want a targeted approach centered around something specific (coping with a recent breakup, support around a work transition, clarity on whether or not to have children, etc.) or a more general exploration of your life, identity, and past trauma. It usually takes a couple of months to establish trust and rapport with your therapist, and anywhere from six months to multiple years to work on specific issues, depending on goals and complexity.

Individual therapy sessions usually take place once a week, for about 45 minutes to an hour. This frequency can shift to every other week or once a month, after some time depending on how your needs change. 

When working with a licensed therapist, your privacy is strictly protected. The information you share during your therapy sessions remains completely confidential unless you provide expressed consent to share it or your life/someone else’s life is at risk.

None. Psychotherapy is specifically designed to explore topics we would otherwise not feel comfortable discussing: painful memories, deep seated fears, weird impulses, unstoppable compulsions, past humiliations, fetishes, or secret sexual fantasies. The notion is that therapeutic space is crafted to be one where the dynamics that are part of these experiences, thoughts, and desires can be explored.

Yes. Online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy, we find it is mostly a question of preference. Some people really enjoy the convenience of teletherapy and being able to access the sessions from their home; while others lack the privacy or look forward to processing in a non-digital space that feels removed from their daily routine.

Yes, therapy is very expensive. Unfortunately our healthcare system makes it very difficult for therapists to practice independently in a way that feels sustainable while being on insurance panels.

It is also important to note that the cost of therapy covers a lot more than just the one hour session. When paying the session cost you’re also paying for the time it takes your therapist to plan and prepare for that session, and to conceptualize and document your work together afterwards. You’re also paying for their specialized trainings, the time they spend studying their craft regularly, and the ongoing clinical support they might need. 

Finding someone who is a good fit is crucial. You can determine who is a good fit for you based on your needs and your preferred therapy style. There are dozens of therapy frameworks, but generally the field splits into top-down and bottom-up approaches. Top-down approaches to psychotherapy (CBT, DBT, ACT, etc) involve thinking and speaking, these therapeutic interventions are all about changing your thoughts. Bottom-up approaches (EMDR, SE, IFS) involve somatic sensations, feelings, and dual awareness; and they center your body as a resource. You can read about the different frameworks and ask therapists about their experience during consultation calls.