Not at all. The ability to ask for help when you need it and the ability to reach out is actually a sign of strength and courage. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have many strengths that you've used before, that for whatever reason aren't being fully utilized in this situation. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming which is making it difficult to access those strengths. In our work together, I'll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
There are many differences. While it is great and very important to have a support system of friends and family to talk to, they often can only listen and don't have the knowledge and skills to create change in your life. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way- teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won't have to worry about others "knowing your business." Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you've been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren't reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Medication is often a very important part of the treatment process. In fact, research shows the medication plus therapy is the most effective treatment strategy for many mental health issues. However, medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. In general, I will spend some time talking so I can get to know you and what makes you tick, as well as what your specific goals are. Then, I will work to come up with solutions to accomplish your goals. I am fairly directive in sessions. By this, I mean that I am likely to make concrete, specific suggestions as to things to try to solve problems.
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone's circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It's the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. This is usually the best approach. Changes happen much faster when both people are present. Occasionally, it becomes apparent during or after our couples work that one or both people need some individual work. Depending on the specifics of your unique situation, I would have to determine the best way to approach this.