You’ve gone from kid to caregiver.
How can therapy help you manage this transition?
Kim Richan, MSW
The cycle of life often goes like this – as children we are cared for by our parents, as adults we begin to see our parents with the perspective of that maturity and in our middle years we become caregivers for our parents. This transition can be one of the most challenging of your life. It’s at times like these when it can be helpful to turn to a therapist for added support and insight into the process you are experiencing. This article guides you through the process of therapy, what to expect and how to find a therapist who suits your needs.
What to expect from therapy. The Logistics.
Here are some basics:
- You can expect your therapy to be confidential.
- The therapy hour is typically a 45 -50 minute hour.
- Costs vary – a typical therapy session costs between $75-$140 per session.
- Weekly sessions are common, though your therapist may recommend a greater or lesser frequency based on your individual circumstance.
- Many therapists require at least a 24-hour cancellation notice.
- Your therapist should respect the issues you want to discuss in therapy and those you don’t.
What to expect from therapy. The experience.
Talking to a therapist is different than talking with a friend, though both can offer comfort. This section is dedicated to helping you understand the unique experience of therapy and how it might change you.
The essential difference between talking to a friend and talking to your therapist is that this is a relationship focused on you and a dedicated time where you can take your emotional and inner life seriously, maybe for the first time in your life. Therapy can help you identify the distressing feelings you have when it comes to caring for your parent(s). Successful therapy can help you understand those emotions in a way that will help you shift your behavior so you can better manage this role reversal. Therapy is a process that builds upon itself, so when you begin this work it is important to maintain the regularity of sessions so you can realize the greatest benefit.
What to look for in a therapist.
Research shows the most important element in successful therapy is how good the “fit” is between you and your therapist. Does your therapist “get” you? Do you like her? Does she offer insights that change the way you think about your life in ways you didn’t know were possible? Other than that, there are a few logistical things to keep in mind. If it is important that your therapist take insurance, ask that question up front. Make sure your therapist’s office is in an area that is easy for you to get to. Finally, think carefully about whether you’d prefer to work with a male or female therapist and how the experience might be different with each.
Kim Richan is a psychotherapist in Seattle.
You can learn more about her practice at www.kimrichan.com