How can I tell if I need to ask for help?

It is not always easy to ask for help or to know when you need to ask for help. Most people have tried to improve their situation on their own. Some signs that it might be time to see a clinical psychologist:

  1. When the way you feel is affecting your sleep, appetite, work/career, interpersonal relationships or daily living.
  2. When you feel immobilized.
  3. When you do not know where else to turn.
  4. When you feel tired of doing it all alone.

How does therapy help?

Psychotherapy is a collaborative process by which an individual can find resolution to recent and persistent problems and the underlying patterns that prevent enjoying certain aspects of life, achieving satisfaction or simply "oneself." Often, people are struggling with issues of depression, anxiety or other common issues which present obstacles to satisfying relationships, connected emotional lives, physical wellbeing, fulfilling careers and other psychological needs. Through therapy, people learn to recognize and resolve problematic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving which are related to their difficulties.

Therapy is an effective way to better understand human emotions and, consequently, to enrich self understanding. Individuals can learn to develop deeper, more fulfilling relationships with family and friends, and can often become more successful in their careers and other life pursuits. In addition, as emotional functioning is closely related to physical functioning, psychotherapy can help individuals deal with medical issues such as chronic pain, hypertension, and acute and chronic illness.

Therapeutic approaches differ in many basic ways, but they all include work with a trained psychotherapist that helps the patient facilitate change and personal growth.

How long does therapy take?

As psychological needs and goals vary from individual to individual, there is no easy answer to this question. In general, however, short-term therapy is typically best-suited to individuals who have very specific goals and needs, such as overcoming a certain phobia or giving up unwanted "habits" such as smoking, overeating, etc. The duration of this therapy tends to be anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months, during which the therapist may be relatively directive, working with the individual to cultivate goal-oriented patterns and behaviors.

Contrastingly, long-term therapies tend to be less structured in approach. Although specific goals and behaviors are targeted, long-term psychotherapy takes the time to go deeper and understand the origins of unwanted feelings and behaviors. This approach can alleviate acute emotional issues. In addition, long-term therapy is particularly well-suited to addressing more subtle emotional issues, such as pervasive feelings of dissatisfaction. Longer-term therapy also helps people who wish to experience life and relationships in a more satisfying manner. Longer-term therapy encourages the patient to explore his or her personality to uproot certain obstacles and undesirable patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Although it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of short-term versus long-term psychotherapy, you do not need to make this decision yourself. In the first few sessions, I will work with you to better understand your goals and will suggest a plan of treatment.

Do you prescribe medication?

In Illinois, clinical psychologists do not prescribe medications. I work closely with numerous psychiatrists and I will provide referrals to a psychiatrist who can meet with you and determine if medication may be helpful in alleviating your symptoms.