Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions we receive, as well as their answers. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please give us a call at (504) 315‑2420.


This section will address the most frequent questions about therapy, how it works, and if it can help you.

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. 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. Many people also find that counselors 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. 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


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 extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are 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.

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, 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 goals in life. 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, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more 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.

“Psychotherapy is the process through which a person is facilitated “to be[come] that self which one truly is.” - Carl Rogers (1961) quoting Soren Kierkegaard

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. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior 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 what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.

To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:

  • 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 my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

For more information, please see our Rates & Insurance page.

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. 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), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

Face-to-face, in-person sessions are ideal for therapy, but that does not mean therapy cannot be effective via alternative media. If you are unable to meet in person, we can also meet via telephone or video (via your client portal in SimplePractice). Know that you must, however, be a resident of Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, or Texas, as this is what our state licenses require for remote therapy.


This section will address the most frequent questions about addiction.

You may be addicted to a substance or an activity when engaging in that behavior starts to negatively affect one or more of the following areas of your life:

  • Relationships & social interactions
  • Professional responsibilities
  • Daily domestic responsibilities
  • Finances
  • Legal standing
  • Physical health
  • Spiritual health
No. Just like alcohol and tobacco, the legality of a substance does not determine its safety, nor does legality necessarily point to any lack of addictive properties. Analysis of twenty years of research data shows that approximately one in ten, or 10%, of marijuana users become addicted. 
No. Opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines, among other prescribed drugs, are highly addictive. Endorsement from a doctor or drug company does not change this. 
While it can be unclear at times whether a mental health disorder existed before addiction or developed because of the addition, the frequently reported coexistence of addiction and other mental health disorders cannot be ignored. As far as direct causality of drugs and other mental health disorders, one example is that several studies indicate that cannabis use can lead to psychotic symptoms similar to those found in individuals with schizophrenia. 
Yes. The research here is plentiful. Addiction can cause a wide range of both short-term and long-term physical issues. Short-term effects include rapid heart rate, elevated body temperature, slurred speech, increase or decrease in appetite, shallow breathing, uncoordinated movements, drowsiness, insomnia, and increased blood pressure, among others. Long-term effects include various forms of cancer, kidney damage, liver damage, skin damage, tooth decay, infertility, stroke, seizures, lung problems, cardiovascular problems, and sexual dysfunction, and overdose and death, among others. 


This section will address the most frequent questions about anger management.

Do you find that people sometimes comment that you look, sound, or act angry?

Do you sometimes wonder why relatively small things in life make you more angry than they should?

Have you ever regretted your actions after an episode of anger?

Do you sometimes feel angry and not know why?

Do you sometimes find yourself engaging in road rage?

When angry, does the anger seem to take control of you, almost so that you feel like a different person?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may have an issue with anger management. We are happy to help.

Yes. Anger is an important emotion, just like every other emotion. When we feel anger, it could be a sign of unmet needs, threatened needs (such as the need for safety, food, shelter, etc.), or that a boundary of some kind has been crossed. It is important to pay attention to our anger to understand key information about our environment, and there is a way to do this without having our anger completely take us over and cause more harm than good.

Not necessarily. Anger is a part of everyday life, and we all experience it. However, the intensity and frequency of our anger, especially if it’s causing additional problems for us, can sometimes indicate deeper, unresolved emotional issues. Working with a trained mental health professional can help shed light on the possible sources of excessive anger.

Excess anger, whether chronic or acute, puts stress on several of the body’s systems, including the digestive, immune, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems. Acute anger increases the risk for gastric ulcers, strokes, and cardiac events.

If you think you may have a problem with anger, then you most likely do. Learning about emotions and their practical functions can help you manage not only your anger, but also all the other emotions that come with the stressors of everyday life, such as anxiety and depression. Being mindful of what is happening with you creates the psychological distance you need to adopt more healthy alternative perspectives which can assist you in navigating life’s inevitable unexpected twists and turns.


This section will address the most frequent questions about anxiety.

Excessive anxiety will manifest in a variety of ways. You may find it difficult to fall asleep or to get quality, restful sleep. You may have an inability to relax and enjoy life. You may find yourself excessively ruminating about various aspects of your life. One of our clinicians will be more than happy to help you better explore, understand, and control your excessive anxiety. 

Anxiety in an individual can be caused by any number of factors. Sometimes a person can have a genetic predisposition to anxiety, making them biologically more prone to anxiety than others. Or, more commonly, sometimes our environment can cause anxiety, whether we’re stuck in traffic and late to an appointment, or confronted by an angry coworker, or we just haven’t gotten enough sleep the night before.

The truth is, anxiety is simply a natural part of being human. We are unique in the animal kingdom in that, as humans, we have an ability to project ideas into the future: what would happen if (fill in the blank) happened? What would happen if the store is out of milk? What if I don’t get that raise I was hoping for? Anxiety is good in that it alerts us to danger and urges us to take necessary precautions against things that could potentially harm us in some way. Anxiety is only a problem when it becomes excessive or pervasive, or chronic, because it starts to shut down our ability to think calmly and rationally through everyday life occurrences.

Several types of anxiety orders are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM‑5), including: 

  • Agoraphobia (avoidance of places or situations, often resulting in an individual not willing to leave the house)

  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Panic disorder

  • Selective mutism (consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations)

  • Separation anxiety disorder

  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

  • Specific phobias (e.g., fear of spiders)

  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder

First, one must be educated about anxiety (psychoeducation) to understand the causes and effects of anxiety. Often, simply naming a problem can help in decreasing symptoms. Next, psychotherapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy, has been shown to provide relief for generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and panic disorders. Another type of therapy, exposure therapy, works well for those suffering from agoraphobia and specific phobias. FInally, lifestyle changes, such as exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and improving sleep hygiene, in addition to practices such as mindfulness and deep breathing, are great supplemental methods to decrease excessive anxiety.


This section will address the most frequent questions about codependency.

Are you constantly giving to others with your own needs never considered? Do you even know what your needs are? Do you find yourself constantly wondering and worrying about someone else? You may be codependent. Reach out to us, and we can help you explore this and find solutions.

Codependency can be described as an imbalanced relationship pattern. While most of us would consider a healthy relationship to be one that is mutually beneficial and generally fair as far as each person getting his/her needs met, a highly codependent relationship features one partner’s needs being met to the exclusion of the other partner’s. Although unhealthy, it “works” because one partner needs the other, and the other partner needs to be needed.

Research suggests that codependency can emerge from biological, psychological, and social factors. Some individuals are naturally more empathic than others, and thus tend to give more of themselves to others, leading to their more easily being taken advantage of. Some people may have had negative life experiences, such as abandonment or neglect by a primary caregiver, or psychological, verbal, or physical abuse, which caused them to gravitate towards more unhealthy, unbalanced relationships later in life. Social and cultural expectations of relationship roles can also play a part in the formation of codependent relationships.

The underlying pathology of codependency lies in the participants’ loss of any sense of his/her own independent identity outside of a relationship. [Keep in mind, codependent relationships can exist in partner-partner, parent-child, sibling-sibling, and even boss-worker and government-citizen relationships.] When one party (the giver) is constantly pouring himself into a relationship and losing himself in the needs of the other (the enabler, or taker), much of the opportunity of true self-realization and self-actualization is lost. A person stuck in codependency has a very difficult time pondering and producing independent thoughts and opinions, or engaging in meaningful, self-led action.

Start with awareness. Break down and objectively analyze every interaction you have with the person you suspect may be your codependent counterpart. Notice the feelings and automatic thoughts and assumptions that come up within you during the various types of interactions you have with that person. Try also to take some small steps towards separation and independence from that person, and, again, notice the feelings and thoughts that come up. You are likely operating under certain assumptions that are simply not true, e.g., “I will not be ok if this person does x.” Maybe the truth is that you will be ok. Own your contribution to the unwanted patterns with that person. Start standing up for yourself and saying “no” when you don’t want to do something. Consider one-on-one counseling or a support group to help you navigate the difficulties that you will encounter as you attempt to transition away from codependency.


This section will address the most frequent questions about couples counseling.

Absolutely not. When your car is acting funny, you bring it to a mechanic. When your relationship is sub-par, you go to an expert in relationships to explore what is going wrong and to find solutions. 

If you feel like one or more dysfunctional patterns in your relationship are stubbornly entrenched, or if, despite all your best efforts and intentions, your relationship produces more misery than joy, it is likely time to hire a relationship expert. That being said, however, the wheels of a relationship don’t need to be completely falling off before you seek couples counseling. Even if your relationship is relatively stable and fulfilling, couples counseling can be helpful for strengthening communication skills, navigating a difficult situation or looming decision, better managing in-laws, or improving your co-parenting skills, just to name a few examples.

A study from 2019 found that EFT (emotionally-focused therapy), a method commonly used in couples therapy, was 70% to 75% effective at reducing marital dissatisfaction. And according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, almost 90% of clients reported improved emotional health after participating in couples therapy. While there are certainly no guarantees that couples counseling will be successful or save a relationship, there is at least a glimmer of hope when faced with pervasive negative experiences in a romantic partnership. 

While talking to friends and family can feel good as far as moral support, this can sometimes do more harm than good. It is rare for a friend or family member, especially one that you would trust enough to share deeply personal and sometimes embarrassing details of your relationship, to be emotionally detached enough to give you solid, objective advice. Our friends and family mean well, but they can usually be pretty quick to take our sides and start to see our partner as the “bad guy,” not giving us the truly objective feedback we would get from a trained therapist who, in addition to having experience with dozens if not hundreds of couples and who has studied the dynamics of human relationships in great depth, would be able to judge our situation with minimal to no bias of who is “right” or “wrong.” Most therapists have the training to look at a relationship as an integrated system with multiple moving parts, rather than as John against Jane, much like a mechanic would simply study the symptoms of a poorly functioning automobile and proceed accordingly.

That way of thinking is usually a recipe for simply transferring bad patterns in one relationship to the next. Without any true introspective work around what you might be contributing to a problem, you will likely continue to experience similar problems in subsequent relationships. 


This section will address the most frequent questions about depression.

It is fairly common to experience periodic ups and downs in overall mood from time to time. However, if you feel like your mood is consistently low, you may be suffering from clinical depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (current version “DSM‑5”) lays out the criteria necessary for a formal diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, among other depressive disorders. A depressive disorder will typically include some, if not all, of the following symptoms, experienced every day or most days over the duration of the same two week period, which represents a change from previous functioning, which are not attributable to another medical condition, and at least one of which is (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure:

  • depressed most of the day, nearly every day as indicated by subjective report or observations made by others

  • markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day

  • significant weight loss or gain

  • insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleep)

  • psychomotor agitation or retardation

  • fatigue or loss of energy

  • feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt

  • diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness

  • recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation

Depression has been part of the human experience for millenia, and researchers have been trying to answer this question for a very long time. While a definitive answer still remains a mystery, it has been determined that certain factors do seem to contribute to higher levels of depression, including genetics, innate personality traits, seasonal changes, significant negative life changes, lack of social support or meaningful relationships, underlying medical conditions, and chronic high stress levels.

No two people experience depression exactly the same way, and so different approaches need to be considered depending on how the depression presents itself. First, one must consider if there are any situational or physical contributors to the depression, such as a toxic environment or an undiagnosed medical (physiological) condition. Next, it is important to assess if basic needs of self-care are being met, e.g, proper sleep, nutritious diet, adequate exercise, exposure to sunlight, and healthy social interactions. Finally, if most of the above can be ruled out, one might consider psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medications. Some of the more common psychotherapeutic interventions used for depression include psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness techniques. You and your therapist will work together to formulate a plan that will work best for you.

Here are a few ways you can help:


  • continue to educate yourself on depression and its causes and symptoms

  • be an active listener, not a lecturer (a depressed person is usually also suffering with shame, and so telling them what they are doing wrong or not doing right can sometimes simply add fuel to the depressive fire)

  • respect their boundaries

  • encourage them to reach out to a mental health professional, reminding them that telehealth may be an easier way to get started with therapy if they don’t feel they have the energy to leave the house

  • remember to not neglect your own self-care or well-being

Starting around puberty, depression is twice as common in females as compared to males. This may be due to biological, life cycle, hormonal, and psychosocial factors unique to women. The “Big 5” personality trait of neuroticism is statistically higher in women, with the typical women being 60% higher in neuroticism when compared to the general population of men and women combined. Neuroticism is a measure of general sensitivity to negative emotions such as pain, sadness, irritable or defensive anger, fear and anxiety. People with high levels of neuroticism are more likely to think that things have gone wrong in the past, are going wrong now, and will continue to go wrong into the future. They are also more likely to be unhappy, anxious, and irritable when just thinking or remembering, and when they encounter a genuine problem. They have substantially lower than average levels of self-esteem, particularly when they are also low in extraversion. Neuroticism is, therefore, a risk factor for anxiety disorders and depression.


This section will address the most frequent questions about grief and loss.

While there are certain common symptoms that everyone experiences during grief and loss, it is at the same time a unique experience for each individual. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. Grief is arguably one of the most complicated and difficult emotions we experience as humans, for reasons beyond the simple fact that it tends to force us to consider our own mortality, which is perhaps the most terrifying prospect that any individual can face. The authors of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (current version “DSM‑5”) have tried to formulate a timeline of “normal” grieving versus what they consider to be problematic or pathological. A fierce debate continues among mental health professionals as to what is the right answer here. The fact remains that each person must process grief in his/her own way, on his/her own timeline. However, the sooner one can face the painful feelings of grief, the better. Too often, in order to mask the pain of loss, individuals will turn to conscious and/or subconscious distracting or masking behaviors, such as denial, anger, resentment, addiction, workaholism, and dissociation, among others. If instead, a grieving individual chooses to face the pain head-on, with the support of friends, family, community, and/or a mental health professional, alleviation of symptoms can be achieved sooner.