Q & A with Daisy
Q: Daisy, what led you to choosing counseling as a profession?
A: “I’ve wanted to be a counselor since I was 14. That was when family issues for me really started to heat up – and the only person that I was able to talk to was, my school counselor. She was the only person who I trusted at that time and just having someone listen to me was so helpful. So, because of that experience I wanted to be able to make an impact on someone else’s life like she did mine.
As I got older and started to reflect more on my life, I decided that I did not want my painful experiences to go to waste. From a very early age I experienced sexual abuse and the loss of both of my parents. I went through my own struggles with self-harm and addiction. These experiences have helped me to empathize and connect with my clients.
Q: In your experience as a therapist – what are the biggest barriers for a client just getting started?
A: “I think that as much as we are trying to fight the stigma of mental illness, there are still a lot of ‘first timers’ that come in and feel very hesitant about opening up. Whether that is from society, or even a family culture that could be sending a message of ‘not airing dirty laundry’ the hesitancy can become the first big barrier that a client may need to overcome.”
Q: Have you experienced therapy yourself? What was it like for you?
A: “Yes, I’ve absolutely gone through my own therapy, and do still attend therapy ongoing. I think that it is very important to get the help I need of stress in my life because it really benefits my work with my clients. I do recognize that it can be hard to find a ‘good therapist’. Mainly because you need to find someone that is a good fit for you and your life.
I have even seen clients that have had some fairly traumatic experiences with therapists that weren’t a good fit. I think even as a therapist myself, I recognize the need to ‘shop around’ for the best fit. Fit being personality, the type of modality that they are using and whether there is a connection. All of these variables are important in choosing someone to do therapy with. Sometimes it is hard and the search itself becomes its own barrier to getting help.”
Q: What would a client experience coming to your office for the first time?
A: Generally, the first session would involve an intake, which is a “getting to know you” on both sides. I will try to understand where the client is with their current struggles and assess their readiness for therapy. Generally, I would like to know about the symptoms, duration of symptoms, triggers and how it has impacted the client. This is also an opportunity for the client to ask me questions about my experience and approach to determine if we are going to be a good fit.
Q: I’ve noticed that insurance doesn’t always want to pay for therapy, what is your take on using insurance to cover your treatment?
A: I think once you use insurance to cover treatment a lot of your privacy is forfeited. In order for insurance to approve it you have to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Also, at any time insurance can request copies of your case notes, and treatment plans. These diagnoses, and documents can be seen by a number of people, and then you also run the risk of it affecting your ability to get life insurance later on down the road. I personally do not like diagnosing people because it puts them in a box. Some clients become more upset after receiving a diagnosis and can end up using it as a crutch to not work on making progress. Private pay therapy provides you more freedom of treatment because you don’t have to be tied to a diagnosis, and your confidentiality is completely intact. There are a number of ways to find therapy that is affordable through private pay if income is a factor.