Nikki Gabriel LMFT
Nikki Gabriel LMFT

Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological 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 advice 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, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life, understanding themselves better, or working towards change in their lives.

Do I really need therapy?

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 extra support when you need it.  In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, which 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.

How can therapy help me?

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. Sometimes just talking to a therapist and getting perspective can be a tremendous help in improving interpersonal relationships, and dealing with family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh approach to 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 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

What is therapy like?

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. This means that you are in the driver's seat as to what topics are discussed.  A good therapist will help you focus on the concerns you bring to the session, and it is understood that the focus may change as things occur in your life.  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.  To get the most out of therapy, your therapist might make suggestions of things you can do between sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors.

Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

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

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

For most people, the long-term solution to emotional pain cannot be solved solely by medication.  Medication alone may simply treat the symptom, and give some relief, while therapy addresses the cause of your distress, and helps you change the thoughts and behavior patterns that are not working for you.  Research does show, however, that in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the most effective course of action.   For some clients, a long-standing depression or anxiety disorder may be the result of chemical imbalances, so that all the "talk-therapy" in the world might have limited effect without some medication to restore balance.  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists cannot prescribe medication, but working with your therapist and your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you given your situation.  You always retain the choice. 

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance plan. Check your coverage carefully (check the back of your insurance card and look for the phone number for mental health benefits) 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 the plan pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is pre-authorization required before I see a therapist?

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 dependant adult or elder abuse.  Therapists make every effort to work with frustrated parents and care providers to ensure safety without breaking confidentiality.  However, if a child has been abused or neglected the therapist is required to report this to the authorities.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself.  Suicidal thoughts are common for many therapy clients, so the therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety without breaking confidentiality. However, if the client does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken to keep a client safe.
  • If a client is threatening serious harm to another person. Again, your therapist will make every attempt to work with you to ensure everyone's safety without breaking confidentiality.  However, if the therapist believes someone is in imminent danger, she is required to notify the police.

Contact Me

Encino, CA

818-473-0088

nikki@nikkigabrielmft.com

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