"How can you really help me?"
Great question! You may be new to therapy and skeptical of whether it will help. This is a perfectly healthy thought - it means you think for yourself, and don't want to be bothered by something that is not useful. My promise to you is that early on in the therapy (during the first few sessions), we will evaluate whether you feel it is helpful. You will have a chance to discuss your thoughts and give me feedback.

"I've tried therapy before and it didn't help."
There could be a lot of reasons for this. Perhaps it wasn't the right time in your life for therapy. Some people need to be in a certain place mentally or emotionally before therapy can truly help. Another possibility is that the fit between you and the th erapist wasn't quite right. Research has shown that the right fit between therapist and client is key to the effectiveness of the therapy process. My approach will be different in the way I listen to you. I won't jump in and take over, giving you one-size-fits-all advice that won't work for you. Nor will I simply sit impassively, letting you talk the entire session but offering little feedback. Instead, you and I will collaborate and find the individual answers and solutions that will be most effective for you. I honor the uniqueness of each client and I find that that approach really works!

"I feel nervous about telling a total stranger my problems."
Being anxious about starting is one of the most frequent comments I hear from new clients. They are afraid of feeling vulnerable by exposing their internal thoughts and emotions, or that I might be judgmental, think they are "crazy" or their problems are too big to be fixed. I let them know I understand those worries, and that alone helps them to feel more "normal." Typically, though, they quickly feel comfortable when they feel the relief of being able to tell their story and to truly be heard.

How do I get started?
You can start by calling me at 678-209-1348 or email at [email protected] . I will ask a few questions and then we will set an appointment to meet in my office. I will email some forms for you to fill out and bring with you. Remember, it is normal to feel a bit anxious or apprehensive when making the first call and starting therapy!

Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a counselor as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.

Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
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're 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, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. 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

How can you, Lois Muir-McClain, help me in particular?
That is what we will discover during the initial interview and early part of the therapeutic process. I will focus on getting to know you as an individual or a famiy, and then we will work together to formulate goals that are helpful for your unique circumstance. At McClain Counseling and Family Therapy, I offer a free 10-15 minute phone call to discuss your particular situation and for you to determine if I can be helpful to you. Please fill out the form on the "Contact Me" page so we can schedule a phone discussion within the next 24 hours.

What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. 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.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • 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?

Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.