What to Expect

Before Session

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is the process of meeting with a trained mental health professional to discuss and work on a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Some of the common problems helped by psychotherapy include difficulties in coping with daily life,the impact of trauma, chronic illness, relationship issues, grief and loss, and specific mental disorders, like depression or anxiety.

Psychotherapy helps individuals gain:

– A deeper understanding of themselves and their concerns
– Valuable tools and techniques to help you learn more about yourself, further understand personal values, improve how you relate to others, self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-respect.
– Management/control of your emotions and symptoms to increase well-being and healing

When you call, our support staff will ask you for basic personal information and inquire about your insurance benefits to assist in getting you connected to the best therapist for your situation. In general, you’ll be asked: What are your reasons for seeking counseling? Are there any needs related to language, culture and/or building accessibility? Our office is handicap accessible. If you are planning on using your health insurance benefits, please have your insurance information available When using an insurance benefit, our billing department will determine which therapists are in your network and determine what, if any, deductibles or co-payments/co-insurance you may be responsible for and any restrictions the insurance company may have regarding using your benefit. The billing department will contact you when that information has been established

Prior to your appointment, we highly recommend completing the required paperwork online. You can find the appropriate paperwork for the therapist you will be seeing here.  When you arrive for your first appointment please bring the following with you:

– Completed new client forms
– Your insurance card
– Your HSA/FSA card (if using) or any other method of payment that you will use for your portion of the bill.
– Any other documents you consider important for your therapist to have access to, such as: Psychological testing reports, school 504 plans or IEP evaluations, hospital discharge summaries,custody/guardianship decrees and joint parenting agreements or custody evaluations, etc.

At your scheduled time, your therapist will greet you in the waiting room and bring you to his/her office. Sessions are approximately 55 minutes long. During the first session,your therapist will take the time to get to know you, talk about the therapeutic process and learn about your goals for therapy. We believe it is important to begin therapy by providing you with a realistic course of action and relief from the symptoms that are negatively impacting your life. Change within your sessions is important, but because life happens outside the therapy room, you may be offered ‘on your own practices’ and projects to help enhance the work between sessions.  These projects may include reading, tracking behaviors, feelings and thoughts, or practicing new techniques and skills.  You are encouraged to discuss any difficulties or questions you may have, as the deeper you understand the process of therapy, the more effectively you will be able to grasp concepts and incorporate positive changes into your life.  It is important to recognize that therapy is not magic, and that change does not occur overnight.  Your consistency in attending sessions,following through on assigned tasks, your willingness to invest in your treatment plan, and the extent to which you are open and honest with your self and your therapist, will play a significant role in how quickly you accomplish your goals.

Prior to your appointment, we highly recommend beginning to journal, or taking notes of your presenting concerns, how they show up in your life, and goals for therapy. We also request that you complete the required paperwork online. You can find the appropriate paperwork for the therapist you will be seeing here. Doing this in advance gives us the opportunity to review the information and be more prepared prior to your initial visit. If this is not possible, then we ask that you please arrive 20 minutes prior to your appointment to complete the paperwork in the office.Please bring the following with you:

– Completed new client forms
– Your insurance card
– Your HSA/FSA card (if using) or any other method of payment that you will use for your portion of the bill.  – Any other documents you consider important for your therapist to have access to, such as: Psychological testing reports, School 504 plans or IEP evaluations, hospital discharge summaries, custody/guardianship decrees and joint parenting agreements or custody evaluations, etc.

During Session

Once you have made a decision to see a therapist, you still might be apprehensive about the process. Many people feel nervous before their first appointment and this is completely normal. Therapy is a shared journey; a shared process. And, although you and your therapist will travel together, it is ultimately your journey and you will make your own choices.Therapists may not have answers to all your concerns, but they do have the ability to listen carefully, ask thoughtful questions to help you gain answers/insights, and make recommendations based on research-based theoretical approaches. How you respond to these questions and suggestions will help shape the direction of your work together.

We support people who are willing to accept guidance towards a new perspective. We help you challenge negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviors by replacing them with practical and effective strategies that can be incorporated in everyday life. We give you space to talk and feel without judgment or criticism to facilitate your growth. We will guide you through rehearsing new skills to help yourself in order for you to practice and identify improvements independent of our sessions.At times, with our gentle guidance, you may go beyond your own comfort in order to grow. Facing weaknesses, judgments, fears and vulnerabilities are necessary to develop self-compassion and self-acceptance, which is at the root of all positive, lasting change.

We work with people seeking therapy for problems with self-worth, past traumatic experiences, and those feeling “stuck” repeating negative patterns that adversely impact them at work, school and in relationships. Perhaps your presenting concerns have you feeling guilty, shameful, scared, alone, unworthy, hopeless or helpless. You may have noticed that you’ve been isolating, you’ve become more inflexible,less tolerant of your emotions, feeling controlled by others’ needs, or preoccupied with regret.  Perhaps you fear change, or don’t feel strong enough to face it. If any of these areas of concern resonate with you, you’ve found your therapy “home” with Illuminate Therapy and Wellness.

If you still are uncertain,let’s talk about it! We’ll have a brief conversation over the phone before your first appointment, so we can address any concerns or questions you may have about whether we have the right therapist for you.

Your first appointment will last approximately 60 minutes. You will have the opportunity to share your story and talk about the concerns that are bringing you to counseling. Your therapist will talk about how they work and answer any questions you may have. They will also spend some time talking about details, plans and goals moving forward. They may have resources or referrals to share with you, and paperwork will be discussed. If you’ve felt attended to, received empathy and understanding, and it feels like a good fit then your next session will be scheduled at that time

At IT&W, we prefer to meet with parents/guardians for the first session by themselves in order to have an open dialogue pertaining to history, presenting concerns and goals for treatment. Determined by age and comfort level, the following session will be either the child/teen by him/herself or a joint session with parent/s and child. Once the child is comfortable enough, the subsequent sessions will focus mainly on individual sessions with the child. Please note that parental involvement is a crucial component to therapy and your therapist will encourage regular check-ins with parents.

Your child’s strengths will be highlighted and a nurturing approach will be taken to encourage positive change. In order for therapy to be effective for children and teens, a safe and confidential environment must be created. Thus, the dialogue and content of the sessions between child and therapist will remain private. The only limitation to this includes any instances of safety concerns, which will be determined by the therapist. Parents can expect consultation from the therapist regarding positive parenting techniques, as well as ways to manage disruptive behaviors. At times, family sessions may be requested to encourage healthy communication, boundaries and to further the progress of treatment goals.

We’ve tried hard to simplify this process. You have 2 options: You can call us at: 847-908-8700 or simply click here to fill out the contact form and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours. We will discuss your needs so that we can be sure to schedule you with the therapist who is the best fit for you. We will address your health insurance carrier to establish mental health benefits.  Then we’ll schedule your first appointment!