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Millions of people have sought therapy for help with challenges such as depression, anxiety, grief, stress, addiction, family conflict, and many others. The following are some common questions people have when they consider whether to begin therapy:

Some people come to therapy because they find it to be a helpful process for coping with adjustments, solving problems, or reaching personal goals.  Others find that they have trouble with thinking, reacting, or behaving in ways which cause them or others distress and/or interferes with their ability to function effectively.  Therapy can help with all of these concerns.

Research has demonstrated that psychotherapy is effective in decreasing the sympoms of depression and anxiety such as difficulty sleeping, low motivation, and irritability. Additionally, because emotional and physical health are very connected to one another, psychotherapy has also been found to have a positive effect on the body's overall wellness.

On the surface, what happens in therapy is simply a conversation.  But it is a conversation that is meant to facilitate change through reflection, the challenging of assumptions, problem solving, experimentation with new ideas and behaviors and through the building of an honest relationship.

At the beginning of therapy, you and your therapist will identify the specific goals you want to achieve.  Periodically, you and your therapist will review your progress to make sure you are moving in the direction you want.

The rate of progress in therapy depends on a number of factors, such as symptom severity and your readiness to change.  Most of the work in therapy happens between sessions rather than during them.  The more you are willing to apply what you discover in therapy to your life outside the therapy session, the more quickly you will see progress.  Achieving results in therapy usually requires:

  • A commitment to change.
  • Regular attendance.
  • Being observant of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors between and during sessions.
  • Sharing information openly and honestly.
  • A willingness to challenge yourself even when it is uncomfortable.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Sessions are 50 minutes long.  Longer sessions can be arranged, if necessary, for an additional charge.

The frequency of sessions is something you and your therapist will decide together, taking into account your individual needs and limitations.  It is quite common to begin with weekly sessions and then as symptoms are relieved to decrease the frequency of appointments.

The length of therapy varies widely from person to person but, in the simplest of terms, therapy ends when the issue for which you came to therapy is resolved to your satisfaction.  Other factors to consider are the policies of your insurance company.  Many insurance companies limit the number of therapy visits allowed to an individual in a given time period.

No.  Because the therapists at Turning Point are not licensed to prescribe medications, they are not qualified to determine whether medication is necessary for you.  They are qualified, and professionally obligated, to inform you of options (such as a medical or psychiatric evaluation) should therapy alone not seem to address your presenting problems adequately. 

Turning Point therapists are bound by the ethics and regulations of their profession.  Anything you say in session is held in the strictest confidence unless you give written permission to reveal specific information to another party.  Legal exceptions to this pledge of confidentiality include:

  • If your therapist thinks you are at risk for harming yourself, or another person. 
  • If your therapist is made aware of instances of child or dependent adult abuse.
  • If your therapist becomes aware of an ethical/legal violation on the part of another social worker licensed in the state of Iowa.
  • If your therapist is subpoenaed by a judge.

Therapists are required to maintain records of your contacts for five years after your termination date (or five years after your 18th birthday, whichever comes last).  These are kept in locked files in the office.  

If you are dissatisfied, for any reason, you are strongly encouraged to discuss your concerns with your therapist.  Therapists are trained to accept feedback about their work without taking it personally. In fact, providing this information to your therapist might even strengthen the therapeutic relationship and result in a better outcome.  However, if there is not a good “match” between you and your therapist, they will gladly assist you in finding a therapist who might better meet your needs.

  • Identify your goals: Take time to think about what you want to change in your life.   The clearer you are about what you are looking for, the sooner you can start the process of change.
  • Keep a journal:  Writing in a journal helps you capture situations and examples you want to share in therapy.  It also provides you with an outlet for emotions and can help you get to know yourself.
  • Read: Today, there are articles and books on every subject imaginable.  Ask your therapist for a recommendation or go to the library or bookstore and browse until you find something that seems to relate directly to you.    Be curious about other people who have gone through what you are going through.
  • Practice new skills: Make it a point to experiment with the skills you are learning in therapy.  Skills are new behaviors such as saying “no” in a kind way rather than saying “yes” and wishing you hadn’t or engaging in a new hobby or social experience.  The outcome of your experiments is less important than the discoveries you make about yourself and others.
  • Celebrate your progress:  Find ways to reward yourself for small victories.  Give yourself credit when you do something you were afraid to do.  Think of something you enjoy and take time to do it.