Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

Common questions about starting therapy with Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT

Why should I see a therapist?

We go to repair shops to maintain or fix our cars; dentists to maintain our teeth; accountants to manages our books and taxes. We do these things because we see these people as having skills that we need in our lives. Therapists are no different. They have extensive training in the things that often matter the most to us: our own peace of mind, how we get along with others, how we take care of ourselves, whether we have joy and live with passion, how we talk to ourselves and others. Just like I could read a book about how to service my car, I could read a self-help book about whatever issue I face. But I personally prefer to have a trained expert fix my car just like I prefer to go to trained expert to help me with my life.

 

What can I expect in the first session when I see a therapist?

The first session is generally a time to meet and get to know each other. I like to learn more about what brings you in and what you aim to work on. I like to get a little bit of context and general information about you and your situation. It’s also a time for you to ask questions, say what you’re looking for and decide if I’m the right fit for you. I consider the first session your opportunity to make sure you’ve found the therapist that is right for you … and if you haven’t, my hope will be that you keep looking until you do.

 

For what ages is "Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!™"?

The curriculum for the early childhood workshop is geared specifically towards parents of children from infancy up through around age seven. The stories and issues addressed are focused on children this age, but the Love and Logic principles apply to children of all ages.

 

What does "MSW" and "LMFT" mean?

“MSW” means that I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
“LMFT” means Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. It means that after I got my master’s degree, I spent two more years in a post-graduate program studying marriage and family therapy. It also means that I have met the requirements of 1500+ hours working with clients, 120+ hours of supervision, and have studied for and passed a national licensure exam. Having a LMFT means that I’ve been trained to think about a whole family system and am comfortable working with more than one member of a family. It can be especially helpful to work with someone with a LMFT if your challenges are related to stressful or strained relationships with other people.

 

What payments types are accepted? Do you take insurance?

I accept cash, check, and credit cards at the time of service.
I am not on any insurance panels and am considered an out-of-network provider. I can provide clients with an invoice and record of fees paid that can be submitted to insurance for reimbursement.

 

Does couples counseling really work?

If two people are committed to working on the relationship and can recognize their part in what is happening in the relationship and make changes, then I’d say “definitely yes.” Couples counseling can be a great place to break old habits, communicate better, see the deeper vulnerability in each other and grow much, much closer. However, if a partner cannot see his/her part and cannot make changes, then the odds drop. I believe in relationships and how they can push us to grow and how we are each other’s teachers… so I won’t give up on trying to save a relationship until you tell me to stop.

 

What if I can't afford therapy?

There are some great programs in Denver that provide quality therapy on a sliding scale. One that I especially like is Denver Family Institute.

 

What type of therapist are you?

I’m a therapist who teaches. When you tell me about what is going on in your life, work and relationships, I listen for skills that might be helpful to know. I will invite you to think about things differently and try new techniques. I’m a therapist who feels fully alive so you might find me laughing and joking with you, being compassionate with you, and sometimes even crying with you…. all while I am working to help you feel more fully alive. I like therapy to be about more than just talking so it’s not unusual for clients to be practicing new skills during the session.

I am the type of therapist who thinks that going to therapy is an act of integrity and a gift we give ourselves and the people who care about us. I think therapy brings us more joy, more authenticity, and better relationships. I am the type of therapist who sees us as equals, each with our own unique skills and talents. I am the type to ask you about your faith, your beliefs, your past, your vision … and see how all these can be woven together for the strongest, most vibrant, best you.

 

How long will I need to go to counseling? How often do we meet?

This is entirely up to you. At the end of each session, I’ll ask if you’d like to schedule to come back. You always have the choice. How long you attend depends upon how deep you want to dive and what challenges you are dealing with. Many people tend to come frequently in the beginning and then when they are about done, they slowly taper off. The door is always open for you to come and go as you need support. My hope is that once you invest in the therapy process and share your story with me that I am always here as a resource and you can pop in and out, knowing that I know your story and you don’t have to start over with a new therapist.

Frequency is entirely up to your level of stress as well as how much time (and money) you have to invest in therapy. When people are really stressed, we generally meet weekly. When things are calmer, we spread out the visits.

 

Do you prescribe medications?

No. My training is in relationships with self and others; I was never very good at chemistry. 🙂

 

I can talk to a friend for free, why should I pay someone?

Friends and therapists serve two different roles. Friends are essential to our well-being and hopefully give us love, support, fun, friendship, a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Therapists are trained in recognizing and breaking patterns that keep us stuck in unhappiness and pain. Therapy is a place to learn, to look inside, to try new things. Friends are the ones who support us in this. I think therapists are a lot like trainers at the gym: the trainer knows exercises to strengthen various muscle groups and pushes us to work harder than we would on our own. Our friends are the ones we go for long runs with, play tennis with, ski with and chat with while we’re on the treadmill. There is no “or” when it comes to friends vs. therapist: hopefully it’s friends AND a therapist.