Frequently Asked Questions
Anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) continue to be under- and mis-diagnosed, leaving individuals struggling with ineffective and sometimes even harmful treatments. Unlike with some other disorders, treatment for OCD benefits greatly from a clinician trained specifically to deal with the uniqueness of this disorder. OCD and most anxiety-based disorders use a behavioral exposure based component in treatment – Exposure and Response Prevention therapy. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and American Psychological Association (APA) recommend Exposure and Response Prevention therapy coupled with medication as an effective form of treatment for OCD and anxiety. The treatment involves more than just “talk”—as a rule, it is collaborative and participatory.
Therapy can also provide problem-solving skills, enhanced coping strategies, and other support for issues that can get in the way of your ability to manage anxiety (such as depression, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress, body image issues, and creative blocks). Many people also find that good treatment 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. In addition to managing OCD or other anxiety disorders, some of the benefits may 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; and improving your self-acceptance and boosting your self-confidence.
People can takes years to find the right OCD treatment. 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 additional support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand. That self-awareness is admirable: you are taking responsibility by accepting where you are 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, redirect damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Confidentiality is one of the most important components of the client-psychotherapist relationship. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your physician, naturopath, attorney, etc.)—in these cases, by law, your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, there are some exceptions. State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except in the following situations:
- If the therapist has reason to suspect a client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources, past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders.
In these cases, the therapist is obligated to report their concerns to the relevant authorities, including Child Protective Services and law enforcement,
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week course devised by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the UMass Medical School. Since its inception in 1979, it has been put into practice in more than 200 medical facilities across the country and abroad, and continues to grow. Since the initial successes of MBSR, it has been the subject of numerous studies which consistently support its effectiveness. While originally developed to aid management of stress and chronic pain, MBSR has been shown to help with a host of other issues as supported by the study below:
Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H: Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res, 2004; 57: 35-43
This study reviewed 20 prior studies (involving an aggregated total of 1,605 people) on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Fifteen of the studies dealt with a variety of medical conditions (cancer, pain, obesity, anxiety, etc.), two dealt with prison populations, and three dealt with non clinical (i.e. ‘normal people’) groups who took the MBSR course. The results were encouraging:
“Our findings suggest the usefulness of MBSR as an intervention for a broad range of chronic disorders and problems. In fact, the consistent and relatively strong level of effect sizes across very different types of sample indicates that mindfulness training might enhance general features of coping with distress and disability in everyday life, as well as under more extraordinary conditions of serious disorder or stress“.The researchers also found that “…improvements were consistently seen across a spectrum of standardized mental health measures including psychological dimensions of quality of life scales, depression, anxiety, coping style and other affective dimensions of disability. Likewise, similar benefits were also found for health parameters of physical well-being, such as medical symptoms, sensory pain, physical impairment, and functional quality-of-life estimates, although measures of physically oriented measures were less frequently assessed in the studies as a whole“.
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some people have had poor previous treatment outcomes related to OCD or other anxiety disorders. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Others need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much-needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their life goals. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, treatment plans and experiences will vary depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, any personal history relevant to your issue, and share progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term and targeted to a specific issue, or longer-term in order to address with more difficult patterns or more sustained personal development.
Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly). It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process, such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
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. Where medication can treat particular symptom, therapy is able to address the causes of distress and 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. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine the best treatment plan for you. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the most effective course of action.
Scheduling & Rates
Please contact Harold Kirby by calling 610-517-3127 for a brief consultation and fee schedule per 60-minute individual session. While not in-network with any insurance, Harold’s rates are competitive with the national standard.
Services such as OCD and anxiety disorder treatments may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. Generally, Harold will supply you with a receipt for services including all appropriate coding information and you submit it to your insurance company for the amount of outpatient benefit they will pay. Please check your coverage carefully. A good first step is to call your insurance provider and ask the following questions:
- Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
- What is my deductible, and has it been met?
- How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session if my provider is not in-network?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Reduced fee services are available on a limited basis.
Cash, check and all major credit cards accepted for payment.
If you do not show up for your scheduled therapy appointment, and you have not notified us at least 24 hours in advance, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session.
If you have other questions about Anxiety or OCD Treatment, don’t hesitate to contact Harold. He will typically get back to you within 24 hours.