Frequently Asked Questions


Psychotherapy Frequently Asked Questions

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice, and there are many reasons why people choose to come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological or emotional issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a counselor as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth.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, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, sexual issues, addictions, 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.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. 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.

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks.

Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists 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 you, 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 and anxiety.
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures.
  • Improving communications and listening skills.
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones.
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage.
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence.

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors.It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work toward self-change, and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding.
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings.
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change.
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance.

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the causes of our distress and the behavioral patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Currently, we do not accept insurance, however we will be happy to provide you with a superbill which you can submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement. To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

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 and/or take reasonable action to help prevent any harm from occurring to anyone.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure his or her safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate or is otherwise not responsive to these efforts, additional measures may need to be taken.

Teen Programs Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding to get help is an important decision. Our team is dedicated to supporting your teen and family in determining what type of therapy will best meet your needs. Our Intake Coordinator will meet with you and your family to work with you to determine whether what level of care would best meet your family’s current needs. Our team offers Individual Therapy, two Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Programs; Engage Me and Engage Beyond, one Young Adult Intensive Outpatient Program; Engage Thrive and a full Day Program; Engage Renew.

Individual therapy is typically the first level of care our team provides. Often, when teens act out behaviorally it is usually their way of expressing that something is wrong with them or their family. Teens can often have difficulty making sense of and expressing their emotions. A change in academic performance, anger, withdrawal or somatic complaints can be a cry for help. If there is not a safety concern, individual therapy is often the best first step. However, if your teen engages in self-injurious behavior, begins to socially isolate themselves, is no longer interested in things they used to enjoy, expresses frequent self-criticism, or inaccurately perceives that others are criticizing them, this may be reason to consider more than individual therapy. This decision should be considered with the support of the teen’s current and regular therapist. If your teenager is not seeing a therapist, we offer a free intake assessment to determine the appropriate level of care.

Our Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) provide a short term increased level of support in order to help your teen more quickly develop the skills necessary to establish more safe and healthy behaviors. Individuals currently may have a significant disruption in school behaviors, academic performance, possible drug use or self-harm behaviors, and may be safety concerns for the individual. A client who is a best fit for IOP is typically able to be challenged by the therapeutic process without concern for unsafe behaviors or the use of drugs and alcohol being used to cope. Teens participate in this program three days a week for three hours each day. We have three different Intensive Outpatient Programs; see Our Programs page for more information. Often, an individual in our IOP has been to individual therapy in the past but it has not provided enough therapeutic intervention and support to see significant change, or the individuals symptoms have progressed and they need additional support to provide safe treatment. Individuals participating in this program are strongly encouraged to continue individual therapy in conjunction with the program since a client’s individual therapist will be a longer term relationship verses our program which is designed to be more short term. Our team will work to coordinate your teens & young adults care to make sure they are getting the best treatment available and can transition them back to individual therapy as soon as possible.

As out of network providers we work with most PPO and HMO plans for our Intensive Outpatient Programs. These services are typically covered by insurance plans and vary in the level of coverage provided for treatment. Please contact our main office to discuss how we can support you in getting the best coverage possible.

Youth Enrolled in the Adolescent Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program typically work on building skills in the following areas:

  • Social withdraw
  • Blaming others for his or her own feelings
  • Extreme moods
  • Rejection of previously held values
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Change in peer group

Family Support Frequently Asked Questions

Typically, when the behaviors your teenager is demonstrating seem out of line from their normal conduct, it is good to seek an assessment to determine the appropriate level of care. All teenagers “act out” in one way or another from time to time, and for many, this acting out or rebellious behavior can include experimenting with alcohol and drugs. However, if your teen engages in self-injurious behavior, begins to socially isolate themselves, is no longer interested in things they used to enjoy, expresses frequent self-criticism, or inaccurately perceives that others are criticizing them, this may be reason to consider more than individual therapy. This decision should be considered with the support of the teen’s current and regular therapist. If your teenager is not seeing a therapist, we offer a free intake assessment to determine the appropriate level of care. We provide excellent referrals for individual therapy, outpatient services, and local inpatient programs, if needed.

It can be difficult to determine if an adolescent is just being a “normal teenager” or if he or she has a “problem.” Any parent of a teenager knows that every adolescent may occasionally experience significant mood swings, irrational thinking, and problems with their peer groups. Consequently, identifying a teen’s drug problem can be a struggle for even the best of parents. Additionally, the adolescent often experiences guilt or shame surrounding self-harm, and may face difficultly managing their symptoms or social challenges. Due to these feelings, they are often invested in hiding the significance of their symptoms. Because making this distinction is a challenge many parents face, we have listed some of the frequently asked questions below. The following is a list of common signs that your adolescent may need more than just individual therapy:

  • Socially withdrawn
  • Problems sleeping
  • Frequent challenges with peers in the school setting
  • Difficulty managing anger and/or challenging emotions
  • Excessively moody.
  • Rejects previously enjoyed activities
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Frequent worries experienced or expressed
  • Change in peer group
  • Significant weight change, whether an increase or decrease

All teenagers will occasionally “act out” in one way or another. For many, this acting out or rebellious behavior can include experimenting with alcohol and drugs. With effective limits set by parents and/or a teen’s own ability to know where to draw the line, this experimentation may only be a temporary phase that is over almost as quickly as it begins. For others, however, this experimentation can become excessive and lead to abuse and/or dependence on alcohol and/or other substances.

It can be difficult to determine if an adolescent is just being a “normal teenager” or if he or she has a problem. Any parent of a teenager knows that every teen experiences occasional yet significant mood swings and periods of irrational thinking. Consequently, identifying a teen’s drug problem can be a struggle for even the best of parents. Additionally, the adolescent is often deeply invested in keeping their abuse hidden from their parents due to feelings of shame, guilt, and fear of punishment. That being said, the following is a list of common symptoms associated with substance abuse:

  • Social withdraw
  • Blaming others for his or her own feelings
  • Extreme moods
  • Rejection of previously held values
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Change in peer group

Youth Enrolled in the Adolescent Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program typically work on building skills in the following areas:

  • More positive and supportive peer relationships
  • Developing improved peer relationship skills
  • Improving communication skills to better express needs and emotions experienced
  • Developing conflict resolution skills to reduce conflict and negative interactions with peers and/or parents
  • Youth in program learn to set appropriate boundaries with friends, family, and professionals in their life
  • Anger management skills
  • Building self-esteem
  • Coping skills to manage challenging emotions and thoughts
  • Self-care skills learned to improve the youths care for their own body and mind before others.

In addition to the skills above, youth enrolled in our Adolescent Co-Occurring Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program are also working these relapse prevention skills:

  • Scheduling your time
  • Managing triggers
  • Thought Stopping
  • Relapse Justifications
  • Connecting to sober supports and activities
  • Building sober peer relationships

A typical day in our intensive outpatient programs includes group therapy, family therapy, and regular opportunities to connect with our local community. Our goal in program is not only to teach our youth the skills to improve their mental health and reduce the chances of relapse, but also how to have fun again! Our unique approach includes a combination of group therapy sessions, fun activities in the community, support connecting to volunteer and job experience, local AA/NA meetings, and connections to any other individualized resource your teen may need. At Engage, we want to make sure we support our youth in creating a new stronger community to with a positive support system and accountability to stay on track.

Engage is able to work with most PPO and HMO plans. As out of network providers we work along side your insurance to provide you with the best treatment for your family.

Young Adults Programs Frequently Asked Questions

Engage Thrive is for young adults, ages 18-24, who may feel that individual therapy alone is not meeting all of their therapeutic needs and their mental health has continued to be a barrier to meeting their academic goals, professional goals, or life skills development. Engage Thrive is a short term program designed to work alongside traditional individual therapy. The goal is to support the young adult in gaining insight into their current challenges and learn the skills necessary to overcome these barriers.All of our Engage Thrive clients are encouraged to continue their individual therapy in addition to their program schedule for best support and progress.

Our typical Engage Thrive client is struggling with managing the demands of their current life. Often times, this struggle includes managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another mood disorder. Clients frequently report challenges with academics and/or difficulty obtaining employment and desired independence. Many of our young adults have support from their family and may, or may not, be living at home.

Engage Thrive is covered by most PPO and HMO plans. Insurance plans vary in the level of coverage provided for treatment. Please contact our main office to discuss how we can support you in getting the best coverage possible.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Intensive Outpatient typically lasts 10-12 weeks and can last upwards to six to eight months depending on your child and family’s need. Our clinical team, which consists of your family therapist, group therapists, and clinical manager, will discuss your child’s treatment goals on a weekly basis. Your family therapist will talk about treatment goals with you in your family sessions. The group therapists will call bi-weekly to give you an update on your child’s progress. You will be involved in every step of your child’s treatment from intake to discharge.

Our staff will assign you a Family Therapist suited for your family. Upon starting our program, your session will normally start your session within the first or second week of treatment.

Our Group Therapists have their masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Social Work, and Psychology. A majority of the time, your teen will be with the same group therapist. However, there may be changes depending on what groups or activities are happening on a particular day. If you have any questions you can contact our Program Manager Alex Dee directly at 805-309-2236 or by e-mail alex@engagetherapy.com

Parent support group is every Tuesday night from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. The group consists of just the parents and is lead by Family Therapist Jenny Reznick and Parent Mentor Terry Carroll. The Parent Group is a safe place for parents to give and receive feedback and support, discuss challenges and family successes, and build connections with other parents who are experiencing similar issues.

There may be multiple groups in the same track as your teen. However, you can expect your teen to be in a group ranging from four to eight of his/her peers. During certain activities, the groups may come together but there will still be two therapists for every 8 teens.

Meals are included with the program. Sharkey’s, Fresh Brothers, Stone Fire are some of the restaurants we use. Groups will have dinner here at Engage or they may go out on an outing to eat dinner outside of Engage. If there are any dietary restrictions please contact Program Manager Alex Dee 805-309-2236 or by e-mail alex@engagetherapy.com

We believe in working collaboratively with your child’s supports whether it is an individual therapist, coach, or family doctor. When releases of information are signed, our group therapists can send an updated e-mail to notify your child’s supports on how they are doing in program, topics that were discussed, red flags, and positives that were seen by the group therapists.

Yes. Engage is protected under the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Every teen and parent at Engage signed a confidentiality agreement upon admission to program.

Engage Treatment Programs has received the Gold Seal of Approval® from The Joint Commission

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