About Therapy

Choosing a Therapist

Therapy involves a large commitment of time and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. Although credentials, training, and experience are important, by far the most important factor is whether you feel you can connect with that person.
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Here are some questions you should answer when considering a particular therapist:

  • Is the therapist licensed?
  • Does the therapist have training and experience in the issues of interest to me?
  • Does the therapist show an interest in and understanding of my concerns?
  • Is the therapist able to talk to me in language I can understand?
  • Does the therapist explain how he or she would work with me?
  • Does this therapist feel “right” to me – do I feel understood and safe?

The Benefits

Although therapy can offer many benefits, perhaps the greatest is in knowing that no matter what type of issue you may suffer from, someone understands. Sometimes it just helps to talk to a patient, trusted person about your situation and problems. In addition, therapy can offer new perspectives and solutions to old problems that you may be struggling with, and help you to resolve issues before they become major obstacles in life. In addition, knowing that you are facing your demons and solving your problems can lead to a renewed sense of self-esteem and confidence.
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Therapy provides you with an opportunity to work with someone who cares about you and wants to work with you to improve whatever the situation is that brought you to therapy. In some cases, the benefits might be substantial. In other cases, the benefits might be more modest. How much progress you make towards your goals depends on many things, including the nature and severity of your problem, how good of a fit you and your therapist are, your readiness to make the needed changes, and other factors.

Therapy can help you…

  • Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety–to manage anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improve communication skills–learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you.
  • Get “unstuck” from past relationships and family issues–break old patterns and develop new ways of dealing with old issues
  • Heal old psychological wounds–repair damage from the past
  • Increase your parenting skills and improve your relationship with your child
  • Improve your child’s behavior
  • Discover creative ways to problem-solve
  • Improve your self-esteem and boost your self-confidence
  • Increase your ability to love yourself and love others–enrich your relationships with a greater capacity for respect, compassion, and joy.
  • Attain a better understanding of yourself
  • Gain confidence to identify and achieve your goals
  • Establish your own personal values
  • Become more comfortable making decisions
  • Improve work or school performance
  • Control impulsiveness
  • Find resolution and peace over the concerns that led you to seek help in the first place

The Risks…

In some cases, I will ask you to talk about topics or events that are emotionally painful. This may be difficult and unpleasant to relive or talk about past or present situations that caused you harm and feelings of sadness, anger, and/or shame. I will never force you to talk about painful or embarrassing subjects, however it is often an important step towards reclaiming your life. It is also true that in some cases the problem may get worse temporarily, as it fights to keep control of your life while you fight to take that control away from the problem. If this happens, be sure to let me know.

It is also true that not every therapist is a good match for every client. Since the quality of the client-therapist relationship is critically important to your success, you and I must be a good fit. If you do not think we are working well together, please let me know so I can either change the way I am working with you or offer you a referral to another therapist who might be a better fit.

I keep a high standard of confidentiality and a nonjudgmental attitude in my work. Nothing you say to me will be related to an outside party without your written permission.

What to Expect

From Your Therapist
You can expect from your therapist that they will not waste your time. If you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, confused, anxious, or depressed, you will define together what your situation is and you will work together toward change. Sometimes that change happens quickly, sometimes it happens in slow increments, but it always happens. Our therapists pledge that they will follow your lead, offer feedback and options that you may not have thought about, and support you in reaching your goals. They also pledge that they will keep the environment in their office emotionally safe and respectful for everyone involved.
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From Your Therapist

From the Process

This process works best if you and your therapist are both open from the very beginning. We recommend the following:

  • Initial Telephone Consult: An initial telephone conversation where you find out about the process, we get a sense of what’s going on in your life and which therapist would be the best match for you, and then make an appointment if it seems comfortable to you to do so.
  • Pre-Register: We will ask you to pre-register yourself through our website and then download forms 2-5 (on the page after you submit your pre-registration), print them, sign them, and bring them in to your first session.
  • Intake Questionnaire: We will send you a link via email to complete your intake questionnaire. This needs to be completed before your first session.
  • Insurance Card: We will need you to either scan or take a picture of your insurance card and email it to us or bring a paper copy in with you to your first session.
  • First session: Your therapist will go over the paperwork and office policies with you. At this session your therapist would like to hear what is bringing you to therapy and what you would like to accomplish through therapy. You do not have to commit to any particular number of sessions – together you will discuss and evaluate this as you go along.
  • Following sessions: If therapy is working well, there will be changes – changes in how you are feeling and how you feel about the issues that brought you into therapy. If there are no changes, you and your therapist will work together to determine what is blocking progress and why. Each therapy relationship is unique so it is difficult to predict the pattern your sessions will take.
  • Closure: Together, you and your therapist will decide when it is no longer necessary to come to therapy or when another approach might be more helpful. Clients usually are ready to stop counseling when they can report feeling better, freer, more open, less afraid and when they can say with confidence that they have a variety of tools for helping to feel better. You are always welcome to return.

Please Note

Our sense of therapy is that it needs to make a positive difference in your life or we change/stop therapy. You are in charge of making this assessment, not your therapist. Therapy works best if you both stay open about this from the beginning. In the event that you determine that a different therapist or approach may be more efficient or more appropriate to your situation, we will work with you to transfer to a therapist that works better for you.

Tips for Successful Therapy

The process of therapy can sometimes be difficult and it may be several months before you are getting the results you desire. Some tips for getting better include:

  • Attendance: You have to physically commit to coming to your sessions. You can’t make the improvements you want in your life without effort. It is even more important to come on the days when you don’t feel like it.
  • Being Mentally Present: This means that your mind is focused on the here and now and the work we are doing. If you are spacing out, or are wrapped up in your thoughts, then you miss the opportunity to connect with someone who cares for you.
  • Being Honest: Tell the truth the best you know it. Your therapist only knows about you based on what you tell them. If you make up things or change details, that is all they have to go on. Valuable time and money is wasted.
  • Giving Feedback: You know yourself better than anyone. Your thoughts, feelings, goals, and beliefs are important and will be treated as such. Please speak up – you and your therapist are now involved in a relationship and open communication is key.
  • Accepting Feedback: Your therapist tries their very best to be honest and genuine in the work they do. They will share their thoughts, experience, and knowledge with you in the most respectful way possible. Please listen with an open mind.
  • Completing Tasks as Assigned: You might be asked to do something outside of session. Please do it. Don’t make excuses why you didn’t. Your therapist won’t ask you to do things that are too hard or serve no purpose. If they give you a task, it is for a reason directly related to helping you reach your goals.

If you have any questions about what to expect or the way your therapist works that has not been covered here, they will be happy to discuss them with you in a telephone call or during the first session.

Ending Therapy

It is difficult to predict how long therapy will take. Usually therapy ends when you and your therapist decide that you have made satisfactory progress in achieving your goals. Some people achieve this in just a few sessions; others continue therapy for years before they feel they are ready to leave. Generally, symptom-focused therapy, such as overcoming an anger problem, is shorter, while uncovering, insight-oriented therapy takes much longer.
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You have the right to stop therapy at any time without further financial, legal, or moral obligations, other than those already incurred. However, it is a good idea to discuss your plans to end therapy well in advance so that you and your therapist can discuss your progress and wrap up any lose ends. The longer you have worked together, the more sessions you should plan to use to bring your work to a close. Some people decide to stop suddenly if difficult issues come up in therapy or with the therapist. Rather than just quitting at such times, it is best to discuss your feelings with your therapist.

If for any reason you decide to terminate therapy before your goals have been satisfactorily achieved, be sure to talk with your therapist about why you wish to end prematurely. They want what is best for you, and if something isn’t working for you, perhaps they can refer you to another therapist. Or, if financial or other difficulties have arisen, perhaps together you can find a solution that will allow you to continue therapy.

Confidentiality

All information disclosed within sessions is confidential and you therapist does not release any information to anyone without your written permission except where disclosure is required or permitted in the following circumstances:
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  • In the State of New Mexico, the law requires disclosure if your therapist has reasonable suspicion or knowledge that a child (a person under the age of 18) or an elder (someone 65 years or older) or a dependent adult (someone with a physical or mental limitation that restricts his or her ability to carry out normal activities of daily living) is being abused. Regarding children, such abuse includes, but may not be limited to sexual abuse, consensual or non-consensual intercourse, or sexual activity (e.g., lewd and lascivious acts or conduct), physical abuse, or neglect. Regarding elders and dependent adults, abuse includes, but is not limited to physical abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, financial abuse or neglect.
  • Disclosure may be required if your therapist has reasonable cause to believe that you may be dangerous to yourself (actively suicidal) or that you are seriously threatening bodily harm to another person or to the property of another. In either case, your therapist will take steps to protect you or the other person. This may involve seeking hospitalization for you or contacting family members or others who can help provide protection for you. In the case of potential harm to others, this may involve notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or seeking hospitalization for you.
  • Disclosure may also be required pursuant to a legal proceeding, e.g., in child custody proceedings or in situations in which you claim that your emotional condition is or was an important element. Be aware that if you waive confidentiality related to a legal proceeding, you waive it in full, and all that you have disclosed in therapy can become part of the legal record. In addition, litigation can lead to termination of our client/therapist relationship. In no case will or can your therapist ethically act as an expert witness on your behalf.
  • When your therapist is out of the office and has arranged for another therapist to be on call for them, they may need to share information about you with that professional. That professional is also ethically bound to maintain confidentiality.
  • When working with couples, your therapist discloses no information to anyone outside the couples work without the written consent of both parties in the relationship.
  • Occasionally your therapist participates in case conferences or seeks consultation on a case with another professional. Although case details are discussed with other professionals at such times, names and identifying data are not revealed. Furthermore, the consultant is ethically bound to keep all information confidential.
  • Be aware that email correspondence is not necessarily confidential. When a file is deleted from a disk on the computer, Windows does not erase the contents of the files from the disk. It only deletes “references” to these files from file tables. Contents of the deleted file continue to be stored on the disk and can be recovered using any unerasing utility.
  • Santa Fe Supportive Therapy, LLC has firewall protection between our computers and our online connections. The purpose of a firewall is to protect from unauthorized intruders (hackers, port snoopers) from gaining access to our computers. Our email is also protected against email viruses by Kaspersky Antivirus program or another similar anti-virus program.

Therapy with Minor Children

Minors are people under 18 years of age. Parents are often understandably interested in the content and progress of therapy for their minor child. Except in special circumstances, parents of a non-emancipated minor in treatment “hold the privilege.” This means that in a legal proceeding, and regardless of the child’s wishes, parents could permit the release of information about the child’s treatment. Parents also decide whether to permit a therapist to communicate with a child’s teacher, probation officer, physician, etc., should this become an issue. Both parents, including a non-custodial parent, have a legal right to information about their child’s treatment in most circumstances (and must consent to therapy for the child). At the same time, a confidential relationship is an important element of effective treatment for a child (especially teenagers), as well as for an adult.
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In order to balance the child’s right to a confidential relationship with parents’ need for information about the therapy, the therapist, with your child’s input and agreement, will periodically provide you with a verbal progress report and respond to general questions about treatment. In return, the therapist asks that as a parent you give up your right to examine the treatment records of your minor child. The therapist also asks you to refrain from questioning your child about the specifics of his or her therapy sessions. Please be assured that if issues arise in treatment that indicate your child’s health or safety are seriously in question, the therapist will contact you regarding such circumstances.

Child Abuse

In New Mexico, a child is any person under the age of 18. Child abuse includes sexual abuse, neglect, or willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment of a child. Sexual abuse means sexual assault or sexual exploitation. Neglect means the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for a child’s welfare. Child abuse includes a physical injury that is inflicted by other than accidental means. The latter includes any situation where any person willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or permits the health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered. In addition, child abuse includes a situation where any person willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition.
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Elder/dependent adult abuse…

In New Mexico, an elder is anyone residing in the State of New Mexico who is 65 years of age or older. A dependent adult means any person residing in the State of New Mexico, between the ages of 18 and 64 years, who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights. Abuse of an elder or dependent adult includes physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, neglect, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering, or the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or suffering.

Other abusive behavior…

Abuse includes verbal abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse, and such abuse may be directed at anyone. Verbal abuse includes attacks on the nature and abilities of another person, and includes angry outbursts that include cursing, insulting, or name-calling, as well as subtle disparagement in the form of “reasonable” blaming and criticizing. Verbal abuse may also involve criticizing the person, rather than the behavior of the person, verbally coercing, threatening, or intimidating the person. Physical abuse includes aggressive behaviors such as pushing, shoving, hitting, holding, pinching, slapping, grabbing, kicking, burning, biting, punching, blocking another’s way, or hitting another with an object. Destroying property or harming pets is also physical abuse. Physically aggressive behavior can result in injury or even death to the person being abused. Emotional or psychological abuse involves any behavior that intimidates, frightens, terrorizes, denigrates, devalues, invalidates, or causes psychic pain to the target of the abuse.

Santa Fe Supportive Therapy

1418 Luisa Street, Suite 5A

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Phone: 505.926.0906

Fax: 505.926.0906