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Lu Moss Nelson Ph.D.
License# LMFT 45996
E-Mail Dr. Lu Nelson

25283 Cabot Rd, Suite 201
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

call: 949.363.3070

Why do people go to therapy?

Most people at some time in their lives will have to face something that leaves them feeling overwhelmed, confused or uncertain. And no matter how hard or how much they try, that "something" keeps them in pain; caught in the grips of anguish, locked in indecision or frozen in fear. For some of us it might be a personal or family relationship that keeps erupting in the same unresolved issues over and over again. For others, it might be an event so catastrophic, so devastating that it feels impossible to imagine ever getting over it. Whether it is the sadness of grief and loss, anger and resentment resulting from betrayal or it is simply that you can't make up your mind if you should:

a) quit your job
b) get married or...
c) go back to school

therapy helps people when their lives get stuck and they don't know what to do about it. If you are an individual facing some of these issues, then therapy can help you learn how to find you way, think straight and stop feeling so lost.

When do people go to therapy?

Most people who go to therapy have been considering it for a long time, all the while thinking that they really ought to be able to deal with their problems on their own. They are tired of saying or doing or thinking things that not only just haven't helped, but often have made things worse. So they come to therapy looking for new perspectives; a better way to think the same problems through to solutions that will give them (and those they love) a feeling of relief, a sense of accomplishment and hope for the future.

Some people come into therapy because someone in their life has asked them to get help, maybe even insisted they go and they do show up, even though they have their doubts. The smallest group of people who go to therapy come because they have been court ordered to do so. But even so, no matter what the incentive, research has shown us that having someone to listen to your side of your story with compassion and understanding, helps.

What happens in a therapy session?

This is a very good question to ask because, if you've never done it before, the idea of sitting in front of someone you don't know and talking about serious, personal issues may sound like a very uncomfortable thing to do. One thing to remember, though, is that therapist's are trained to listen and understand and care about you and to help you figure out how to cope with or feel better about what is going on. It's their job to connect with you, not the other way around. So it is important to notice, "Do you feel comfortable with this therapist?"

Then, some basics principles are covered in the first appointment; confidentiality, limits of confidentiality, session length, fees, cancellation policy and the therapist's explanation of their approach to therapy. You will be asked to share information about your personal history, your family history, your medical history and your present circumstances. You will also be asked to talk about what's bothering you. What do you want to change, improve or get over? Then, together you and your therapist will decide how often to meet so that you can accomplish the things you want to accomplish during your work together.

What if I'm not really sure why I want to go to a therapist?

Actually, it makes a lot of sense that you might not be crystal clear on why you are seeking therapy in the first place. You could just be experiencing a general sense of unease or a nagging dissatisfaction with the way your life is going. Or you may think that if you could just get that other "someone" motivated to change, you'd feel better all the way around. So, figuring out why you've decided to enter therapy is one of the things that happens when you go to a therapist. You don't have to have all the questions and answers ready before you walk in the door. Interestingly enough, the more you work toward you goals, the clearer they become and the more attainable they feel.

Is Therapy Confidential?

Confidentiality of communication between a psychotherapist and client is protected by law unless written consent is provided. However there are a number of exceptions to the rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult abuse or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate agency.
  • If a client is threatening seriously bodily harm to another person or persons. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm him or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist a client's cooperation to insure their safety. If they do not cooperate, the therapist may take further measures to insure their safety, without their permission.