Dr. Cora Ramirez-Vasquez, M.A., L.M.F.T., A.T.R, Psy.D - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Art Therapist
 
Why attend therapy?
The reason to attend therapy is an individual choice.  At times it can be to deal with psychological issues such as problems with anxiety,  depression, or a traumatic event. On other occasions it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce, relationships problems, work transition, or death in the family.  Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, grief, stress management, body-image issues, trauma, and general life transitions. 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 change in 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.
 

Can Couples therapy help us?
Couples therapy has a better chance of being successful if the couples see their relationship as a work in progress and utilize therapy to work through past difficulties. You must be flexibe in your thinking and be willing to make changes. You can only change yourself. 

Reasons why couples therapy may not work include:

1. If you attend therapy so that you can claim that you did it, but are not committed to each other.

2. Couples who are lying to the therapist. If you pay for therapy but are lying, then you are wasting my time, and your money.

3. If one of you does not like the therapist. You should both feel comfortable with the therapist, therefore you should shop around until you find a therapist that both of you like.

4. If you attend therapy, but don't follow up with agreed to recommendations. Part of couples therapy is to understand yourself and your partner better. 

5. Not prioritizing your therapy. If you miss appointments then you are sending the message that your relationship is not your priority.

6. Being inflexible with your thinking and unwilling to make changes. Part of the therapy process is to change one's self. If you think that your partner is to blame, not you, then therapy will not work.

7. If one of you doesn't believe in therapy.

8. If you have a lover and are attending couples therapy with your spouse/partner, you need to get rid of your lover first.

9. If only one of you does all of the speaking. It is important to hear from both about how you feel. If it is difficult to express yourself with words, then you can use the art to help you express/communicate.

10. You need to be willing to laugh at yourself and your flaws.

11. If you don't know what you want.

12. If you are waiting for your partner to change before you change.
 

How can therapy help me?
A therapist can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for multiple issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, trauma, and creative blocks. Furthermore, counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. A therapist 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, anxiety, depression, trauma, etc.
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Identifying and changing unhealthy behavior patterns and developing new healthy ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
 

Is therapy confidential?
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 or dependent adult or elder abuse.  The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

What is EAP?
EAP stand for Employee Assistance Programs.  They are employee benefits that are offered by many employers. The purpose is to help employees deal with personal problems that might impact their job performance, health, and well-being. EAP's generally include short-term counseling and referral services for employees and their household members. Check with your employer to see if you have this benefit.
 
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