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WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?            
   Psychotherapy is often referred to as “talk therapy”.  While there are various types of psychotherapy, usually the psychotherapy involves a client and therapist meeting together.  In the therapy session, the focus will be upon the client’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and needs toward reaching a goal that the client has identified as important to him or her.  The bedrock which all psychotherapy is founded upon is the concept of confidentiality. 

WHAT IS CONFIDENTIALITY?            
   Confidentiality means that, with some important exceptions, what is said in the psychotherapy session is not shared with anyone without the client’s expressed, signed permission.  Knowing that what he or she is sharing with the therapist will stay with the therapist and will remain confidential means that the client may feel safe in sharing his or her inner-most fears, secrets, or needs.   

WHAT
ARE THOSE EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY?            
   Most states have laws that require the psychotherapist to inform authorities in the following circumstances: 
1.  Suspected abuse of a child,
2.  Suspected abuse of an elderly adult, or
3.  Imminent harm to an identified person or destruction of property  

WHAT
ARE THE TYPES OF PSYCHOTHERAPY?         
   Some common types of psychotherapy are:   
Individual Psychotherapy:  The psychotherapist and the client meet together with no one else in the room.
Family Psychotherapy:  The psychotherapist and a family meet together.  Usually there are at least two persons in the room in addition to the psychotherapist.
Couple Psychotherapy:  The psychotherapist and a couple meet together.  Usually the therapist and the two persons in a relationship meet in the same room for all sessions. 
Group Psychotherapy:  The psychotherapist and clients meet together.  Usually clients in group psychotherapy greatly benefit from the knowledge that others are dealing with similar issues with similar goals.  Confidentiality exists between the therapist and all group members in that what is discussed in the group session never is shared outside of the group session.  

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN MY FIRST PSYCHOTHERAPY SESSION?
        
Usually the first psychotherapy session is an evaluation session in which the psychotherapist will obtain a history.  This involves asking many questions about the past and present.  By asking these questions, the psychotherapist learns about you, what your issues may be, and what you want from psychotherapy.  This evaluation/history gathering process may be one first session or may extend over more than one session based upon you and what you have to share with the psychotherapist.  

WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME TO MY FIRST PSYCHOTHERAPY SESSION?
1.  If you have insurance, including Medicaid or Medicare, be sure to have your card with you,
2.  If you are taking any medication, be sure to have a list of names of the medications you take and the dosage,
3.  Bring a list of the names, phone numbers, and address of all doctors you now see, and
4.  Bring a list of all previous psychotherapists you may have seen.  

HOW LONG DO MOST PSYCHOTHERAPY SESSION LAST?
          
  Usually a psychotherapy session will last between 45 to 50 minutes.  As mentioned previously, the first session may be longer.  Group psychotherapy sessions may be slightly longer, often one to one ½ hours.  

HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO CONTINUE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY?            
    How long a person continues to be enrolled in psychotherapy completely depends upon the person and his or her needs.  Some people attend psychotherapy for years; others only need to attend for a few sessions.  Since psychotherapy is all about meeting the client’s needs and reaching the client’s goals, how long a person attends psychotherapy is entirely based upon each client’s individual situation.  

WHAT ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH MEDICATION?
           
   Many client’s greatly benefit from taking medication along with psychotherapy.  Feel free to ask your psychotherapist if medication would be right for you.  If medication is considered, your psychotherapist can assist you in obtaining an appointment with a psychiatrist.  

IF I DO TAKE MEDICATION, WHY SHOULD I ALSO ATTEND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
 
   Research study after research study has proven that the majority of people who take medication for mental heath reasons make the most progress when they also attend psychotherapy.  Psychotherapy can help and medication can help but psychotherapy and medication together help the most.  Baltimore City Counseling Center usually requires that persons receiving medication prescribed by a BCCC psychiatrist also be enrolled in ongoing psychotherapy for this very reason.