Most people, at one time or another, need some help. Talking with a therapist may help you understand ways to improve your life, gain insight and acceptance about yourself, and achieve personal growth. When you make the decision to begin counseling, you take a huge step toward obtaining mental and emotional health.
Upon scheduling your first appointment, you will be sent intake forms to complete and bring with you to your session. During the initial evaluation, Dr. Bellinger will collect a detailed psychological and medical history as well as any other information that may be relevant to your treatment. Target goals for therapy will be delineated and a treatment plan will be formulated based on your individual needs. A mental health diagnosis may be given during the initial evaluation, if warranted. Based on the assessment, Dr. Bellinger will be able to determine if she is the right fit for you, and if not, will provide you with the best referral.
Moving forward, sessions will focus on strategies which will assist you in meeting your target goals. Because each person has different challenges and goals for treatment, therapy will vary depending on the individual. This may involve cognitive behavioral strategies such as identifying, challenging, and restructuring irrational thoughts or exposure and response prevention. Relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and biofeedback may also be employed to help you manage the physical symptoms of anxiety. Homework may be assigned to assist you with mastering strategies utilized in session. Depending on client need and goals for treatment, out of office sessions, home visits, and phone sessions may also be conducted. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence based treatment that is typically short-term and solution-focused. The focus of therapy is on difficulties in the present; however, early life experiences are occasionally discussed to better understand present challenges. Your progress is regularly assessed to make sure you are moving towards your goals.
Don’t worry if you find it hard to open up about your feelings or symptoms. Dr. Bellinger can help you gain confidence and comfort with this process as you work together. Therapy is a team effort. Her goal is to provide you with the tools you need to overcome problematic behaviors and lead a healthy life.
Each session is approximately 45-minutes long. Meeting frequency is dependent on your particular needs. Initially, Dr. Bellinger typically meets with clients on a weekly basis. Once you have achieved your goals, session frequency is reduced and will focus on relapse prevention and tools to help you sustain your improvements long term.
Confidentiality is a key component of the counseling relationship. Information shared during therapy is confidential and will not be disclosed without your written permission, except in cases of possible harm to yourself or others, or when required by state or federal law.
If you have any questions, just ask! Dr. Bellinger is here to help.