Welcome Kiley Remington

Welcome Kiley Remington

The Cedar Rapids Relationship Center is excited to announce the addition of a graduate student from Mount Mercy University to our office.  Kiley is currently in her final year of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program.  She will be working out of our office to gain experience providing therapy for clients.  She will be working under the supervision of Jennifer Gage at our office while also receiving supervision through her professor at Mount Mercy.

This is a great opportunity for those in our community who do not have mental health insurance or would prefer not to go through it.  Kiley will be seeing clients for the flat fee of $10 a session.  If this is something you are interested in, do not hesitate to contact her and set up a time to come in.

Q: What does the first meeting look like?

Q:  What does the first meeting look like?

After doing therapy for awhile you start to notice a trend in the questions and the concerns that clients have before therapy even starts.   I am hoping to address some of those here.

Q:  What does the first meeting look like?

Knowing what to expect when you walk into a new situation can be helpful and reduce anxiety. Every therapist has their own way of doing an initial session.  There are some common elements that you will see at most therapy offices.  I have outlined the structure we follow at our office.

  1. Paperwork: Therapists are required to maintain a certain level of medical records. To help them to do this they will have “initial client paperwork” to have you fill out. At our office, our forms include the following forms. First is the Client Information Form, which provides basic contact information and helps us to bill your insurance. The next form is An Informed Consent Form.  Here we have outlined our office policies and included all of the disclosures needed to begin therapy.  The final form is an Assessment Form.  This form allows us to collect some background information and helps us to understand all of the factors impacting your life.  We will then make a copy of your insurance card to be included with the other forms.  One thing to remember is that even when you come in for couple sessions this paperwork will need to be filled out. Usually an Assessment Form is filled out for both partners. The information for only needs to be filled out for one of the partners and there is a place on the consent form for both parties to sign.  You can access our forms here.
  1. Meeting the therapist: Now that you have the paperwork filled out, it is time to come into my office and meet me. Here you find a place to sit where you are comfortable and then I introduce myself.  One of the most important parts of therapy is being able to connect with your therapist.  Part of the first session is getting to know the office and the therapist.  You being able to feel comfortable there is very important.
  1. Office Policies: At this point of the initial session I cover some of the office policies that were outlined in the informed consent forms.  An example of one that I talk over with all my clients is the idea of confidentiality.  I feel it is essential for clients to understand what they say is confidential and where the limits are.  I also answer any questions regarding insurance or fees. I encourage my clients to ask me questions and I do my best to answer them.
  1. You tell your story: After all of the office stuff is taken care of and any questions are answered, I turn it over to you. Sometimes people don’t know where to start.  I usually help by asking “what has led you here to my office.”  While you are telling your story I will ask some questions to get clarification where I need.  I also take notes so I don’t lose any of the details.
  1. Goals: The final part of the initial session is to help you identify what you want/need to change. This can help us determine goals for our sessions and give us direction moving forward.
  1. Scheduling: We end by scheduling our next session and settling any co pays or fees.

Sometimes clients struggle with the initial session because the main purpose of it is to learn what is going on in your life and what has led you there.  Because of this, we don’t get to the “working phases” of the session.  Clients sometimes report that they feel like they have just talked and haven’t fixed anything.  The second appointment will feel more collaborative than the first.  Time is an important piece of therapy.

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

After doing therapy for awhile you start to notice a trend in the questions and the concerns that clients have before therapy even starts.   I am hoping to address some of those here.

Q: What do I do if my partner refuses to attend couples counseling with me?

One issue that comes up is when one partner wants couples counseling and one partner does not.  The partner who would like to initiate therapy is left feeling like they are stuck, unable to move forward.  One thing that I tell all of my clients or potential clients is that you can start therapy by yourself.  There are many benefits of doing this and your partner may decide to join you at a later stage.

Going in for individual sessions allows you to explore your feelings and roles in the relationship in an environment that is free of judgment. It allows you to identify and deal with any personal problems that you may bring into the relationship. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your relationship is be the best version of yourself you can.  Individual therapy can help you to achieve that.

If your partner decides to join you in therapy later, you can talk to your therapist on how to handle this.  The person coming in can feel at a disadvantage due to the relationship already developed with the therapist.  I personally work to balance this out by meeting with the new partner individually for several sessions to allow them to get to know me and feel comfortable in the space. I never want someone to feel targeted or ambushed when they walk into my office. After there is a therapeutic relationship established with both partners we can move forward with couple sessions.  If things still feel unbalanced I may suggest a new therapist for the couple’s work.

Click here to get an idea of what an initial session looks like.

8 Tips for Reducing Stress this Holiday Season

8 Tips for Reducing Stress this Holiday Season

All I want for Christmas is…to be STRESS FREE!!!

It is September and Christmas decorations fill the department store shelves.  Children far and wide have started their lists for Santa, mainly because parents have been reminding them that “Santa is watching” for the last few months.  If the thought of these things make you break out in a sweat, you are not alone. For many Americans the “holiday” season can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  In fact, a 2008 poll by the American Psychological Association found that 8 out of 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holidays.

Why are the holidays so stressful?  The holidays present a wide array of demands: office parties, purchasing gifts, baking, cleaning, and entertaining. For many, the biggest source of holiday stress is the obligations associated with family and family traditions. Having such high expectations and experiencing guilt at not meeting them, contributes to the stress and pressure of the holidays.

With the holidays right around the corner, here are some ways to cope with stress and have a pleasant holiday season.

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