Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
How long does therapy last?
Each person or couple is different. Every situation is unique. The capacity of each person to grow or make change varies widely. However, the average length of time in therapy is about 5- 6 sessions. Couples take 5 to 12 sessions to resolve most problems.
Will I/we be in therapy forever?
No. Most therapy episodes are short-term and time limited. Some clients set a specific number of sessions to work on a specific issue. While some clients do participate in therapy on an ongoing basis, a vast majority do not.
What is your theoretical approach to therapy?
I guide my clients in the development of personal strength and empowerment as well as practice love and compassion for themselves, their partners and others. Love guides my method. Yet my approach to therapy is eclectic, meaning I utilize many theoretical models and blend them together. Cognitive/behavioral therapy is my core method, but in couples work I am influenced by Susan Johnson’s emotionally focused therapy approach. I will often encourage insight by my clients into their own feelings and issues. I operate out of a deep reverence for the free will of each individual to make his or her own choices. Click here to visit my bio
PAYMENT AND FEES
Why is Andrew Aaron, LICSW not a provider for insurance companies?
Insurance companies have practices that interfere with ease and success both for this therapist and for therapy. They reimburse at a low rate. They may reduce their reimbursement rate unilaterally without notice. Insurance companies typically require an authorization processes which are paperwork intensive and require some of your personal information. Their requirements may interfere with the therapy process and with your relationship with me. Additionally to obtain payment from an insurance company billing procedures must be followed that are too costly and time intensive.
Do you offer a sliding-scale fee?
Sometimes I will make accommodations for special circumstances, but doings so is uncommon. A potential client who is strongly determined to succeed has a better chance of getting a reduced fee. At times when therapy has begun and financial problems interrupt the process, I may adjust the fee to help a client achieve his or her therapy goals.
KINDS OF CLIENTS
Do you work with gay or lesbian individuals or couples?
Yes. I have had many male and female couples as clients through the years and am knowledgeable about the issues concerning gay men and lesbians.
Do you offer family therapy?
While I do not consider myself a family therapist, I have experience helping the families of my individual and couple clients when significant issues require support and intervention. I do not provide family therapy as a primary focus.
Do you just work with adults?
I primarily work with adults and sometimes older teens. There have been instances where an individual client or the child of a couple who are client will bring into a therapy session a small child to address a specific issue that requires a short-lived experience in therapy.
THERAPY WITH COUPLES
With couples, what is Andrew Aaron, LICSW’s success rate?
This is a difficult question to answer. After therapy has finished, success is often defined differently than it was prior to therapy. Many individuals and couples return to therapy with me even though therapy goals were not completely met in the first therapy episode. In many instances, the original goals were large and the therapy experience helped the couple advancing one or more steps in the direction of achieving their goals. Many couples enter therapy with unrealistic expectations. A majority of couples enter therapy as “our last hope” and have destroyed trust and goodwill before therapy and have a low chance of success. A majority of couples who seek help do so far too late and have destroyed the ingredients needed for a successful relationship. On average, couples would be wise to enter therapy when problems are still small instead of waiting until they are of crisis proportions.
Do most individuals and couples succeed in therapy?
Many achieve their goals, but some do not and the reasons vary from having unrealistic expectations, living an unstable life that interferes with treatment stability, insufficient commitment to the therapy process and finding that more strength is needed than what is possessed to create the desired changes.
Why do you meet with each relationship partner individually?
When beginning therapy with most couples, I meet with relationship partners separately at least once before proceeding with the therapy process as a couple. I learn about different information and often highly important facts in the individual sessions. As a couples therapist, the more informed I am, there greater is my ability to help. All information shared in the individual sessions is kept confidential and not shared with the partner unless permission is given.
Will you tell us we should breakup?
No. I do not consider giving this kind of judgement part of my role as a couples therapist and it is decision of the couple’s partners. If faced with very difficult problems, I may indicate whether the partners seem to have the capacity or not to solve the problems.
What if my relationship needs help but my partner/spouse refuses to come to therapy?
Relationship or marital problems may be helped through individual therapy, up to a point, but it is better than no help at all and can reduce some of the suffering caused by problems through the development of improved strength and loving and learning new and better ways to influence the resistant partner. Andrew Aaron, LICSW has had much success at engaging the resistant partner to come into therapy to work as a couple.
If I get started in therapy individually, may my partner join me later?
This is not an uncommon scenario. Often couples therapy begins with one partner working individually. I have had much experience helping the newly engaged partner feel comfortable and that the therapist is unbiased and open to understand and support the newly engaged partner as well as the partner who has been in therapy for weeks or months.
Is there a chance that couples therapy will harm my marriage/relationship?
There is always some risk, especially when relationship problems have been unresolved for long time and much resentment has built up. However, I have worked with hundreds of couples, many of whom enter therapy with enormous tension between partners. On rare occasions when a couple comes into therapy, the choice to get help precipitates instability that leads to relationship break-up. I work with great care to do no harm and am overwhelmingly successful at helping not harming.
How does sex therapy differ from regular therapy?
Sex therapy is different only in that the focus is on solving sexually-based problems; otherwise it is the same. I have years of training in the subject of human sexuality and therefore understand how emotions and psychology effects sexual functioning.
I have never spoke openly with anyone about sex, will I feel embarrassed?
Probably at first. Throughout our society, because of attitudes towards sex, many people have guilt, shame and embarrassment about sex. Because of this, strength and courage may be required to talk about sexual problems. When a problem is painful enough, the embarrassment seems small by comparison. My clients notice that shortly after therapy has begun, due to my accepting and non-judgement approach, embarrassment and discomfort about the subject of sex quickly fades.
My problem seems physical, can sex therapy really help with a sexual problem?
Universally sex is thought of as a physical activity, but in my opinion sex is 80% emotional. Most sexual problems are emotionally centered but manifest physically. In my initial evaluation of your difficulty, I will attempt to rule out a strictly physical cause. If I cannot, I will recommend a physical evaluation with a medical doctor.
As a woman, can Andrew Aaron, LICSW understand my sexual difficulties?
Through over twenty-five years I have provided sex therapy to hundreds of men and women and understand the discomfort and embarrassment of having sexual problems and of talking with a man about sexuality. Additionally, I have the advantage of having talked to hundreds of women about the most common sexual difficulties and understand a woman’s perspective, feelings and needs. As a professional I offer compassion without judgment. Through the years women have expressed to me after working to resolve sexually-based problems that they no longer think of me as a man or woman, but as a safe helper.
I would be uncomfortable talking to a man about sex. Will this prevent me from getting effective therapy from Andrew Aaron, LICSW?
No. I have helped many women with sexual problems. An initial discomfort and embarrassment quickly fades after experiencing that the environment in therapy is accepting and nonjudgmental.
Will therapy make feel better right away?
It may. Many couples feel hope and relief very quickly. Many individuals feel better due to having opened up and shared about painful issues. Feeling understood can be uplifting. However, some people who have buried much painful emotion may have to feel what they have internalized and therefore feel discomfort before feeling better.
How will I know if I am succeeding in therapy?
Clients notice they have greater ability to handle situations more comfortable, with greater skills or with greater ability to cope than before. Others start to feel better and notice a greater comfort at talking about previously uncomfortable topics in therapy.