In this section, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about Our Bilingual Mental Health / Psychological services. If you have a question that is not covered in this page or in any other page on this website please Contact Us at 303- 317-6265 or fill out the form at the end of this page for a personal reply.
What is a Psychological Evaluation ?
What is Mental Health Consultation and how can it help?
What Spanish Groups are available?
What is Psychotherapy?
Why people seek Therapy?
How is Therapy different from asking advice from a priest, pastor , close friend or my family?
Isn't therapy just for "crazy people"?
How do I know that I need Therapy?
Do I really need Therapy? I can usually handle my problems...
Is Therapy confidential?
What can I expect from Individual Therapy?
What can I expect from Couples Therapy?
How Long Do I(We) have to be in Therapy?
Is Medication better than Therapy?
How can I make an Appointment?
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a sensitive, collaborative treatment process in which we use specialized knowledge and techniques of caring that have been designed based on scientific studies and cultural sensitivity to offer our clients effective, immediate and/or long-lasting solutions to their struggles or suffering. Psychotherapy helps people to re-examine their beliefs, assumptions, expectations and feelings about themselves, others, life experiences and the world; people also re-evaluate their coping mechanisms and have the opportunity to choose new ones which enhance their life, and nurture both themselves and those around them. In a nut shell, psychotherapy helps people to integrate themselves, helps them to integrate their life experiences, and also helps them to integrate with life itself, in a more healthy, productive and meaningful way.
Consultation services could be preventive and/ or Educational in nature. Mental Health Consultation is for the benefit of helping Professional(s), as well as direct clients, find information, knowledge, answers, guidance and/or resources to their particular concerns. It is usually short-term and can be implemented or supplemented with group presentations and Lectures to optimize the professional support. It is not meant to be psychotherapy in that , Consultation is aimed to provide information , education, and guidance about what might help the professional or the client(s)' situation without direct desicion-making or intervention from the consultant.
If you are a Professional Consulting with us, it will help you address Cultural, Ethical, Mental Health or Clinical -related questions or concerns that you as a professional may have related to a client of yours, to the agency or program that you work for, or to the cultural community that you provide services to; It can be approached as case-insight consultation or action-help; It can also be about consultee crisis and/or social system consultation; If you are a client in a quest of short term situation-insight, decision-making, resource seeking, professional help during a life transition or a difficult situation in daily living(for example, parenting education, education about divorce process(es), etc. we will help out.
In any case, Consultation provides a professional, confidential place to discuss with culturally competent Psychologists, about concerns regarding Job performance, your partner or your children without the need to commit to on-going or more long-term psychotherapy, assuming it's not indicated. It allows the consultee to discuss concerns and to make decisions or changes, to move in the direction of increased effectiveness, wellness and confidence.
Sharing our problems with those that are significant to us can be both a very nurturing experience , but also a source of disappointment. Well-meaning relatives or friends lack the professional training and experience to deal appropriately with some of the issues you may be experiencing. Psychotherapy involves a professional clinician, trained in scientific, researched- based theories , treatment models and techniques to treat many mental, emotional, behavioral and relational problems such as depression, anxiety, trauma, obsessive problems, self-esteem and adjustment to life changes(i.e., divorce , grief, ) and many other mental health problems.
That is one the biggest misconceptions about therapy, one that keeps people from benefiting from a significant source of support and help. Another misconception is that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Recognizing the need for professional help and making the decision and action to seek therapy is a sign of strength and your decision to give yourself the opportunity to live a more productive and meaningful life!
Many of the people I have worked with, have decided to seek therapy to improve or work through conflictive relationships: problems with their partner or peers, family discord, with friends or co-workers, etc.; to better deal with cultural adjustment issues after relocation, to understand and work through past or current problems that are limiting their life’s possibilities and life satisfaction; Others are in quest for personal growth and self-improvement. Individuals and couples I see may be dealing with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, social discomfort( social anxiety, shyness) , a history of trauma or sexual abuse, body-image concerns, grief over a significant loss, work or financial concerns, parent-child conflicts and lack of life meaning and direction.
How do I know that I need Therapy?
Therapy can really be of help in a wide range of distressing, stressful or confusing situations. You may decide to consider therapy when you feel what you have been doing to solve your situation:
…is not working in spite of all your efforts or only works momentarily…and you wonder…”how did I(we) get here again?”
…is worsening things and keeping you from achieving your life dreams and goals(those things you want to see happen).
When you think that you cannot resolve the problem on your own.
When even the advice offered by family or close friends doesn't seem to help you feel better.
When you feel stuck…
When you think that you are running out of options
When you are confused about your life’s goals and direction
When you feel depressed or anxious most of the time and it is beginning to interfere with your relationships or your effective functioning.
When your worries are affecting your sleep, work and even your spare time.
When you grow discontented and disconnected at home, work, in your marriage or social life...
When you decide to give yourself the opportunity to talk things out with some one who has the training, experience and skills to really listen without judgment, and can be of help.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Working with a Psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards improving their lives. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse/ neglect or dependant adult or elder abuse.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with or without the collaboration of the client to ensure their safety.
Therapy has one specific purpose: that something of positive value and constructive usefulness will come out of it for you, in spite of initial discomfort or even pain. Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for Psychologists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes.
Through your participation in therapy, you will have the opportunity to explore, better understand and process significant and sometimes painful life experiences; working through problems in your life that may be keeping you from moving ahead, from setting or achieving your life goals and manifesting your true potential. Together we can create a trusting therapeutic environment , which will enable you to share things that are embarrassing or painful to you; to safely explore deeply felt sources of pain, conflict and dissatisfaction; to seek new alternatives to your current problems, which will ultimately allow you to make informed decisions to implement positive changes in your life.
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Psychologists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Psychotherapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
The approach that we use in psychotherapy is determined by the needs, cultural background and therapeutic goals of my client. We usually incorporate narrative, cognitive behavioral, humanistic and systemic perspectives within a culturally sensitive approach. Hypnotherapy and spirituality are also additional components in treatment if we decide that they are required to better help you.
The outcome of psychotherapy depends on what you want to get from it; it goes hand by hand with the motivation, effort and commitment which you are willing to put in. Therefore, it is important to be honest around the issues that you want to work on.
What can we expect from Couples Therapy?
Couple therapy focuses on the relationship between two people, in their strengths as well as in the issues that are a source of problem, distress and dissatisfaction for both the individuals and the couple, without taking sides or blaming either person for the problems. Many couples seek assistance because they are having issues with communication, parenting , problem-solving, intimacy, sexuality and commitment. Some couples also seek assistance with a friendly separation or divorce.
We approach couples treatment from an Integrative perspective, in which we help couples to develop awareness of generational patterns , dysfunctional cognitive processes , unexpressed and unacknowledged emotional needs, or individual issues that are negatively impacting their relationship; we also assist them to improve positive behavior exchanges, a more intimate and respectful communication , sexuality and their abilities for parenting and problem-solving skills. We would typically make an extensive assessment during two initial sessions.
The outcome of couple therapy depends on what you want to get from it, on the motivation, collaboration, effort and commitment which each and both of you are willing to put in, to make behavioral changes or to change the things that are causing the distress, or the problems in the relationship. Therefore, it is important to be completely honest and emotionally open throughout the process.
Marriage Counseling typically goes through 3 basic stages; The first stage involves Evaluation of the Couple and their problem(s); the second stage emphasizes active treatment or intervention; the final stage focuses on maintenance of therapy outcomes.
The length of therapy sessions differ according to the kind of issues you want to work on, the goals you set for your treatment, your commitment to work on them and on your therapist recomendation. We have seen individual and couples, who come for one or two consultation sessions, seeking advice or help for immediate decision making.
However, regularly the number of therapy sessions depends on the kind of issues you want to focus on. If you want to focus on a specific problem or goal, we use brief therapy, a solution focused perspective, which can last from 10-20 sessions; if you want to work on more complex issues, a traumatic experience, long-standing problems or unproductive behaviors, then a more long-term, in-depth work is required, and therapy may go beyond the 20 sessions.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with a psychiatrist or your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.