Five Questions to ask when Interviewing a Therapist in Gold River, CA

With the wealth of therapy and counseling services offered in and around Gold River, CA, finding the right therapist for you can be an overwhelming process!  Where do you begin?

I’ve heard from many people that the process of choosing a therapist is so daunting they end up just picking a name to call and setting an appointment with the first person that answers the phone.

Most people don’t look into therapy when they are feeling good and life is going smooth. By the time you start looking for a therapist you’re in emotional pain, struggling with an aspect of your life, your interactions, or your mental health. You are most likely looking for immediate relief and will talk to anyone who can help.

This can work; sometimes you may luck out and find the perfect therapist this way. In general, however, it takes a bit more than luck of the draw to find the right fit. The most important aspect of therapy being successful is that there is a good fit between you and your therapist.

By taking the time to interview, ask questions and find someone who matches you best, you increase the chances that you will be successful in therapy. You’re worth taking the time for!

Here are some helpful questions to ask when looking for a therapist to help you with something specific, such as trauma:

“I would like help dealing with some trauma I went through, is this something you work with?”

  • Ask what areas the therapist specializes in. Ask how they became interested in trauma work.

  • Find out how frequently they work with clients who have experienced trauma, what percentage of their caseload is currently addressing trauma issues.  

  • There are various kinds of trauma (combat related, early childhood abuse, and DV just to name a few). The therapist should be comfortable helping you with the specific issues that are bringing you in.

“What kinds of training and clinical experience do you have working with trauma?”

  • Ask about what degrees and licenses the therapist has. In California there are many different licenses that provide talk therapy (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Clinical Psychologist).

  • Ask what additional trainings they have completed around trauma.

  • Ask if there are other ways of treating trauma that they don’t offer. There are a multitude of different trauma techniques (Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Somatic Experiencing). All these techniques are effective and can be helpful. Take some time to learn about them and find a therapist who has that specialty. The therapist you are interviewing should be able to explain why they use one method over another.

“How often will we meet?”

  • Ask how frequently this therapist typically works with their clients. You may have an idea about how often you would like to meet (weekly, every other week, monthly). Check that they can accommodate your needs (e.g. if you would like weekly sessions but they are so booked they can only see you monthly that may not be a good fit).

“How many sessions do you think I’ll need?”

  • Ask what the general range of counseling sessions you can expect when you start therapy, although this will vary depending on what is bringing you into counseling.  Trauma work typically takes longer than learning communication skills or building skills to manage a specific phobia. Your therapist should be able to explain the general process of therapy and how long it takes.

“What do you charge?”

  • Ask what the therapist’s rates are and discuss how therapy can provide significant value to your life. Therapy is an investment into your health (emotional and physical), into your relationships, and into your future.

  • Ask if they accept health insurance and discuss the pros/cons of using health insurance.

  • If the full-fee rate is out of your budget range, ask if they have a sliding-scale or could refer you to another therapist that offers sliding-scale.

Make sure it feels right!

Finally, be sure to make sure it feels comfortable for you to talk with this counselor. Remember, the fit between you and your therapist is the most important aspect for therapy being effective. You have to feel comfortable, trust your counselor, and in general like them for therapy to work.  Consider these questions: Does the therapist take time to talk with you or do you feel rushed and pressured? Did you feel like you could share what’s bringing you into therapy without feeling judged?

Finding the right therapist is like finding an amazing pair of shoes, take your time to find the perfect fit!

I hope this list gives you a starting point for interviewing therapists in the Gold River, CA area. If you are still feeling stuck with finding the right therapist give me a call at 916-547-3997. I’d be happy to hear what’s going on and help direct you to the right person.

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist who specializes in providing counseling to people healing from trauma and abuse, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.

Do I really have to rehash my childhood?

“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

~ Fred Rogers

As a therapist specializing in helping individuals heal from trauma (particularly childhood traumas), I get asked all the time “Do I really have to talk about my childhood to feel better, it was so long ago. Can’t I just forget about it and move on?”

My response is usually “Has that worked so far in your life?”

If forgetting and moving on had worked for you so far, you wouldn’t still feel stuck in the pain of your past. For some people, possibly you, life experiences form deep wounds inside your body and mind, and take a bit more than just a “forget it and move on” attitude to actually move forward. It’s not for lack of trying! In my experience, people don’t want to experience the type of pain they do from trauma and they will do anything they can to relieve it.

The thing about trauma recovery is there is a lot of pain stored up.

To make an analogy, those painful experiences you went through are like splinters deep in your skin. Sometimes the splinter is so deep you can’t see it from the outside, but you can feel it. It’s tender and sore when you touch it. As the splinter stays in your body it can become infected. You know that even though it may be painful, you need to remove the splinter to let your skin heal and for you to feel better.

The healing work around trauma is like removing an old splinter. It’s painful to rehash and “open up” old emotional wounds, there’s sometimes infected stuff in the wound, it takes a while to heal, and it sometimes leaves a scar. Like removing a splinter, the end result is less pain, less tenderness and an overall improved quality of life.

So how does that translate to healing with the support of therapy?

There are a few steps involved:

First, we will “prepare and clean up the area where there’s a splinter”.  Therapy can help you create a safety net of coping skills, supports, and healthy living tools right now so that you’re prepared to dig into the past.

Next we “remove the splinter”.  We look at your history, help you retell your story, gain understanding around the events, and release shame and guilt.

Finally, we “help the wound heal and minimize the scar”. Together we help you integrate your past into your current life which creates the possibility for you to live authentically and see yourself as a resilient, confident person.

To return to Mr. Rogers and his infinite wisdom, talking about your feelings makes things less overwhelming, upsetting and scary.

Likewise, using therapy to talk and gain understanding about your past traumas can allow the pain to dissipate and the wound to slowly begin to heal.

If you would like to learn more about the healing process from past trauma or are ready to start your journey to heal painful wounds, please call me 916-547-3997. I’d love to chat with you about how to take that first step toward healing.

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist who specializes in providing counseling to people healing from trauma and abuse, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.

 

Before you Speak...THINK

As a kid, I was taught the phrase “I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”  That’s nice in theory, but is that really true?

In my clinical practice I specialize in helping adults heal from painful and often traumatic experiences that occurred throughout their lives. Much of the healing work around trauma involves changing the cycles and patterns learned in the past and finding new ways of interacting in the world.

On a daily basis I hear about the messages people have been told that stick with them. People who were wounded by negative comments, sometimes intentionally said, sometimes said off-handedly and without much thought to how the statement would impact others. 

You may have had an experience as a child where a friend, parent, or family member said something that has stuck with you, that repeats in your head to this day, and changes how you interact in the world. Possibly it changes your views about yourself or your belief about your capabilities or self-worth.

Unfortunately, because patterns are so invasive, many times you may find yourself saying the same negative comments to your child, friend, partner that you heard from your family when you were young.

Maybe a more accurate version of that childhood phrase would be “I’m glue and you’re glue, whatever you say sticks to me and sticks to you.”  It’s hard to shake those negative comments and even harder to not repeat them to others!

Part of leading an authentic life is being truthful to who you are and genuinely expressing yourself. It’s important, vital, that you are sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences with others! It’s this genuine expression that creates the deep interconnected relationships we desire.

Sometimes you might find that you get caught up in your own feelings and experiences and forget the impact of your words. You may honestly believe someone is acting “stupid”, but will calling them “stupid” strengthen or benefit that relationship? Will it help resolve the conflict you are experiencing or the frustration you’re currently feeling? Probably not. 

Here’s a trick to you change those communication patterns:

Before you speak, THINK.  Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

Ready to do some self-evaluation? Grab some paper and jot down your thoughts to the following questions.

  • Think of a situation recently where you said words out of anger. Maybe it was with your kids, partner, or at work.

  • Take a moment to really reflect upon what words you said. What emotions were you feeling before and after this interaction? What outcome did you want from the situation and did your words help you get to your desired outcome?

  • Now take a few moments to use the “Before you speak… THINK” concept. Reflect if your words were true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind.

  • How would the interaction have differed if you had used words that were true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind?

  • How could you have expressed yourself differently in a way that showed respect for yourself and others and genuinely express your feelings, thoughts and needs?

  • What is one thing you are willing to change about future interactions?

 

Changing a pattern in your life takes practice and effort, especially if you have a history of experiencing trauma. Be kind to yourself, this may take some time.

This new way of interacting may not come easy at first. I can guarantee most people don’t stop and evaluate “THINK” before they speak! However, if you’re able to integrate this process into your interactions, you will find that your interactions are more genuine, connected and positive.

I hope you challenge yourself today and over the next few weeks to evaluate your interactions and find ways that you can authentically express yourself in words that honor you and others.

If you’re interested in learning more ways to change your communication with others, resolve trauma and pain from your past, or be more authentic in your self-expression please call or email to arrange a free telephone consultation. Let me know how I can help! 916-547-3997   adrianajoynermft@gmail.com

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist who specializes in providing counseling to people healing from trauma and abuse, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.