Frequently Asked Questions about NYC Cognitive Therapy
What is the benefit of NYC Cognitive Therapy's
By having multiple well-trained therapists on staff you are able to get connected with the one that is most appropriate for you and your particular problem. We work as a team and consult regularly to ensure that all of our clients are getting the benefit of three therapists while only directly working with one. If needed and/or requested we have the ability to allow you to work with a different therapist without having to find an entirely new counseling center.
How do I make an appointment?
You can call our office, email us, or use our online contact form. One of us will get back to you right away. We will talk with you about the main reasons you are seeking counseling and ask you a few other questions so we can recommend the best person in our practice to work with you. If it's decided that we are a good fit then an initial appointment with one of our therapists will be scheduled, usually within a few days.
How many visits will I need to resolve my problems?
The answer depends greatly on your goals for counseling, your particular situation, how much effort you put into your counseling, and the length of your appointments (standard sessions are 50 minutes in length, however 75 or 90 minute appointments are available and often speed up progress).
The research is clear that when clients fully engage in therapy by regularly doing homework, focusing in the sessions, committing to discussing unpleasant emotions, and implementing the skills that they are taught they get better quicker. In some instances we have been able to be helpful in as few as 4 sessions whereas other times clients have continued with us for much longer. Although it is difficult to predict exactly how many appointments you will need up front, your therapist would be happy to discuss this with you as your therapy gets underway.
Initially, clients are seen once or twice a week, unless they are in crisis. As soon as they are feeling better and seem ready to start tapering therapy, your therapist might suggest trying therapy once every two weeks, with an eye towards wrapping up. This more gradual tapering of sessions allows you to practice the skills you've learned while still in therapy. Booster sessions are recommended three, six, and twelve months after therapy has ended.
What times do you have available for appointments?
Since we have several therapists to serve you, we have quite a bit of flexibility when scheduling appointments. Besides normal working hours, we often can see you on Saturdays or in the evening, lunch time, or early mornings to make your appointments as convenient as possible. Please let us know your preference and we will do our best to match it.
What happens during the first appointment?
During the first session, your therapist will ask you about your problems and collect a thorough mental health history. At your request, your therapist will provide information on your diagnosis and evidence-based treatments. S/he will also answer questions you have about CBT and the process of therapy. You and your therapist will come to a shared understanding of your clinical needs and set goals.
What is a typical therapy session like?
Depending on your goals, difficulties, and strengths, you and your therapist will devise a treatment program to meet your needs and promote your health and well-being. Working collaboratively, your therapist will invite you to ask questions and solicit feedback on his/her understanding of your difficulties. At NYC Cognitive Therapy, our staff walk the line between challenging you to be different, while empathically appreciating how difficult this can be at times.
A typical session with your therapist might involve any of the following: identifying and challenging core beliefs of who you think you are or how the world works; cultivating mindful awareness of your senses, thoughts, or emotions through a guided exercise; articulating important personal values and the degree to which you embody them; or discussing our therapeutic relationship, with the understanding that some of your interpersonal assumptions might apply towards your therapist.
Is there homework between sessions?
The most important, positive changes that you will make in your life will occur in your everyday experiences outside of the therapy office. To help you make these "real life" changes, your therapist will help you design homework assignments. These assignments will show you how to apply the ideas and skills you've learned in therapy between sessions. This process will enable you to become your own therapist once your work with us is complete.
There are many types of homework assignments. Some include learning how to observe and measure your own thoughts, feelings, and actions so you can improve your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Other assignments ask you to change your ways of thinking about certain matters so that you feel more hopeful and productive. Some projects involve reading, to add to your knowledge about your difficulties and how to improve your life, while others might involve listening to an audiotape of your session or rereading your notes to review what has been discussed.
Many of our clients especially appreciate the assignments called behavioral experiments. Clients try a new approach to an old problem and document the results, often learning that doing things that may be new, challenging, or even scary can result in dramatic changes in their lives.
Homework is not required, but it will help your progress in therapy if you give it a try. You will never be criticized for not doing the homework, or for having difficulty with it. It is your therapist's responsibility to create an environment in which you will feel free to explore and learn and in which you will not have to worry about being judged.
How can I make the best use of therapy?
One way is to ask your therapist how you might supplement your psychotherapy with cognitive therapy readings, workbooks, client pamphlets, etc. A second way is to prepare carefully for each session, thinking about what you learned in the previous session, and jotting down what you want to discuss in the next session.
A third way to maximize therapy is to make sure that you bring the therapy sessions into your everyday life. A good way of doing this is by taking notes during the session or writing a summary of important ideas or insights at the end. These notes can then be referenced during the week as needed. It is also helpful to spend time thinking about what would be helpful for you to do during the coming week and to try to predict what difficulties you might have in doing these assignments so that your therapist can help you before you leave the session.
What about medication?
At NYC Cognitive Therapy, therapeutic work is both practical and collaborative. Your therapist can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of medication with you. Many clients are treated without medication at all. Some disorders, however, respond better to a combination of medication and cognitive therapy. If you are on medication, or would like to be on medication, please speak with your therapist about whether you should have a psychiatric consultation with a specialist (a psychopharmacologist) to ensure that you are on the right kind and dosage of medication.
If you are not on medication, you and your therapist might assess, after four to six weeks, how much you've progressed and determine whether you might want a psychiatric consultation at that time to obtain more information about medication.