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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Services

Starting services is easy. Simply submit this form online, or you can give us a call at 248-717-0074 or send us an email at hello@riveroakspsychology.com to schedule an appointment. Our friendly and compassionate team is here to support you every step of the way. During your initial contact, we will gather some basic information and discuss your needs and availability. We will work together to discuss insurance coverage and other details. We are proud to offer a welcoming and confidential opportunity where you can explore your concerns and work towards your goals. We look forward to connecting with you and helping you embark on your therapeutic journey.

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We understand that cost is an important consideration when seeking treatment, whether for therapy, nutrition services, or medication management. The cost of our services can vary based on factors such as session duration, frequency, and the expertise of the provider you see (we do not have a practice-wide rate, it depends on the provider you see). Additionally, if you plan to use health insurance, your fees will depend solely on your insurance coverage. To provide you with accurate and detailed information about treatment costs, we encourage you to contact us directly. We will be happy to discuss private pay rates and insurance coverage options. 

Please read about your insurance responsibility.

Learn about our payment process.

The ability to use your health insurance depends on various factors, including the specific provider you see and whether they are in-network with your insurance. Some of our providers are in-network with certain insurance plans, which means they have an agreement to provide services at a predetermined rate. In this case, you may be able to use your health insurance to cover a portion of the fees. However, it’s important to note that not all providers accept the same insurance or participate in every insurance network. To determine if your health insurance can be used, we encourage you to contact us.

Please read about your insurance responsibility.

Learn about our payment process.

Yes. We aim to streamline the paperwork process to make it as convenient and efficient as possible for our patients. Prior to your appointment – whether for therapy, nutrition services, or medication management – you will be provided access to our secure online portal, where you can conveniently complete all necessary paperwork electronically. These documents include intake forms, personal information, consent forms, and any other relevant information that will help us better understand your needs and provide you with the best possible care. We kindly request that you complete these documents at least 24 hours before your first appointment to ensure that we have ample time to review and prepare for your session. By completing the paperwork in advance, you allow us to focus on your treatment needs during your appointment, maximizing the time we spend together. We understand the importance of your privacy and the security of your personal information, which is why our secure portal adheres to strict confidentiality protocols. Should you have any questions or encounter any difficulties while completing the paperwork, we will be more than happy to assist you.

Telehealth allows individuals to access services remotely, without the need for in-person appointments. With telehealth, services become more accessible and convenient, breaking down barriers such as distance, transportation limitations, and scheduling conflicts. Through secure video conferencing platforms, individuals can connect with their providers from the comfort of their own homes or any other private location, as long as they are physically within the state in which their provider is licensed to provide treatment. Telehealth offers the same level of professionalism, confidentiality, and effectiveness as traditional in-person appointments. At River Oaks Psychology, we are committed to providing exceptional telehealth services that empower individuals to embark on their treatment journey with ease and convenience. This includes therapy, nutrition services, and medication management.

Learn more about telehealth.

Yes, we exclusively provide telehealth services for therapy, nutrition services, and medication management. We understand the importance of accessibility and convenience in today’s fast-paced world, which is why we have chosen to offer appointments through secure online platforms. With telehealth, you can receive services from the comfort and privacy of your own home, eliminating the need for travel and allowing for greater flexibility in scheduling appointments. Our telehealth services maintain the same level of professionalism, confidentiality, and effectiveness as in-person treatment. Through video sessions, our highly qualified clinicians are dedicated to providing you with the support and guidance you need.

Learn more about telehealth.

For ALL of our services – including therapy, nutrition services, and medication management – you have to be physically located in a state where your provider is licensed to practice. While telehealth eliminates the need for in-person appointments, there are certain limitations regarding where you can be located for telehealth sessions. Our providers are licensed to practice within specific states, and therefore, you must be physically located in the state where your provider is licensed to provide services. This requirement ensures that we adhere to state regulations and professional standards of care. However, within the boundaries of the licensed state, you have the flexibility to access services from the comfort of your own home, office, or any private space where you feel comfortable. Our goal is to make treatment as convenient and accessible as possible while prioritizing compliance with legal and ethical guidelines.

Although telehealth is online, there are important legal and ethical considerations to keep in mind. As clinicians, we are bound by state licensing regulations, which require us to be licensed in the state where our patients are physically located during the sessions. This ensures that we are practicing within the legal and ethical boundaries set by the state licensing boards and upholding the standards of care specific to each jurisdiction. While we acknowledge the potential for connecting with treatment providers across borders, our commitment is to provide services within the scope of our licensing and in compliance with state regulations. We strive to offer high-quality services to individuals within the states where our providers are licensed, ensuring that our patients receive the professional and legally sound support they deserve.

If you have upcoming travel out of state, we recommend discussing it with your provider in advance. It is crucial to communicate with your provider to determine the options available to you during your time away. They can help guide you on the best course of action and discuss any potential limitations or alternatives for treatment while you are away. Our clinicians will work with you to find the best solution and ensure continuity of care, taking into account the specific circumstances and regulations involved.

No, at River Oaks Psychology, we currently only provide telehealth services and do not offer face-to-face appointments in person. Telehealth allows you to receive the same level of professional care and support through secure online platforms, all from the comfort of your own space. It eliminates the need for travel and offers greater flexibility in scheduling sessions. If you have any questions or concerns about our telehealth services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you.

Learn more about telehealth.

No. We believe that the use of video during appointments offers a more comprehensive and effective treatment experience and we strive to replicate the face-to-face experience as closely as possible. Visual cues, such as facial expressions and body language, play a vital role in communication and understanding between the patient and clinician. They provide valuable insights and allow for a deeper connection and engagement during the session. Non-verbal cues can often convey emotions and nuances that may not be captured through audio alone. Additionally, the visual component helps ensure a more accurate interpretation of the patient’s experiences, contributing to a more personalized and tailored approach to treatment. We recognize the importance of privacy and confidentiality and maintain strict protocols to safeguard your personal information during video sessions. Our aim is to provide the highest quality experience, and we believe that video sessions contribute significantly to achieving this goal.

Learn more about telehealth.

No. Never. Rest assured knowing that your video sessions will never be recorded. We understand the importance of maintaining a safe and secure environment, and part of that commitment includes ensuring that your sessions remain completely private and confidential. We respect the sensitive nature of treatment and the trust you place in us. Your video sessions will only occur in real-time, allowing for open and candid discussions without any recording or storage of the session content. Our goal is to create a space where you feel comfortable, heard, and understood, and we uphold strict ethical standards to protect your privacy throughout the telehealth process.

During your first appointment – whether for therapy, nutrition services, or medication management – it is common to have a mix of emotions, including anticipation, nervousness, and relief. The initial session is typically focused on establishing a strong therapeutic relationship and gaining a comprehensive understanding of your concerns and goals. Your provider will create a safe and supportive environment where you can openly discuss your reasons for seeking treatment, any specific issues you want to address, and your personal background. They may ask questions to gather information about your mental health history, current symptoms, and relevant life experiences. It’s an opportunity to tell your provider about yourself.

Our providers look forward to meeting people in the first session and it should be casual, relaxed, warm, and welcoming. Together, you can decide your goals for treatment and talk about what you would like to work on. The provider might also provide you with an overview of their approach to treatment and answer any questions you may have. It is essential to communicate openly and honestly during this session, as it sets the foundation for future sessions. Remember that treatment is a collaborative process, and your provider is there to support you on your journey toward healing, growth, and well-being. Your active participation and willingness to engage fully in treatment will be paramount to your progress.

It depends on the individual. For therapy, nutrition services, and medication management – there is no single answer for how long treatment should or will last. The duration of treatment can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific goals, individual needs, and the nature of the issues being addressed. Some individuals may engage in short-term treatment, which typically lasts for a few weeks to a few months. Short-term treatment is often focused on addressing specific concerns or providing immediate support during a challenging time. In contrast, others may opt for long-term treatment, which can span several months or even years. Long-term treatment allows for deeper exploration, personal growth, and addressing complex or deep-rooted issues. The frequency and duration of sessions are usually determined collaboratively between the patient and the clinician, taking into account progress, treatment goals, and individual circumstances.

It’s important to remember that treatment is a unique process for each individual, and the duration can be flexible and adjusted based on progress and ongoing needs. Further, some patients may feel they have resolved their initial concerns but continue to return on an “as-needed-basis” when new struggles surface. Together you and your provider will discuss what might work best for you.

We understand that there may be instances where having another person present during a session can be beneficial and supportive to your therapeutic journey. We welcome the opportunity to explore this option further and determine if it aligns with your specific needs and goals. It is important to note that the inclusion of another person in your session requires careful consideration and discussion with your provider. In order to proceed, a Release of Information form would need to be signed, granting your written permission for the presence of the additional individual in your sessions. This form ensures that everyone involved understands and respects the confidential nature of your treatment and the importance of maintaining privacy. It allows your provider to have open and honest communication with all parties involved, ensuring a collaborative and supportive environment. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with your provider, and together, you can determine the best approach to meet your unique needs. Our priority is to provide a supportive and confidential environment where you feel comfortable and empowered on your treatment journey.

About Therapy

Determining if therapy is right for you is a personal decision that depends on various factors. Therapy can be beneficial for individuals facing a wide range of challenges, including mental health concerns, relationship difficulties, life transitions, self-exploration, or personal growth. It provides a supportive and non-judgmental space where you can explore your thoughts, emotions, and experiences with a trained professional. If you are experiencing distress, feeling stuck, or facing persistent issues that affect your well-being and daily functioning, therapy may be a valuable resource. It can offer guidance, perspective, and tools to help you navigate challenges, develop coping strategies, and promote personal growth. It’s important to consider your readiness and willingness to engage in the therapeutic process, as well as your commitment to attending sessions regularly and actively participating in the therapy journey. Ultimately, the decision to pursue therapy is highly individual, and it may be helpful to consult with a mental health professional who can assess your specific needs and provide guidance tailored to your circumstances.

Yes, it is entirely normal to go to therapy. Seeking therapy is a proactive step towards taking care of your mental and emotional well-being. Just as we prioritize our physical health by visiting doctors or seeking medical help when needed, therapy offers the opportunity to address and improve our mental health. Many people, regardless of their background, experience difficulties, challenges, or emotional distress at different points in their lives. Therapy provides a supportive and professional environment where you can explore your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with a trained therapist who can offer guidance and support. It is a common and effective resource for individuals seeking personal growth, coping skills, emotional healing, or assistance with specific mental health issues. Whether you are facing a particular challenge or simply aiming to enhance your overall well-being, going to therapy is a positive and normal decision.

Therapy is helpful for numerous reasons. It provides a safe and non-judgmental space where you can openly express your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Therapists are trained professionals who can actively listen, offer support, and provide valuable insights. Through therapy, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your emotions, and your behavioral patterns. It helps you develop coping strategies, improve problem-solving skills, and enhance self-esteem. Therapy also offers a structured approach to address specific issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or relationship difficulties. It can empower you to make positive changes, set and achieve goals, and build healthier relationships. Ultimately, therapy can facilitate personal growth, increase self-awareness, and help you navigate life’s challenges with greater resilience and well-being.

Therapy differs from talking to a friend in several important ways. While both therapy and conversations with friends can offer support and a listening ear, therapy is a structured and professional process guided by a trained therapist. Therapists are neutral, objective professionals who provide a safe and confidential space for you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and concerns without judgment. They are trained to employ evidence-based techniques and interventions tailored to your specific needs. Therapy also involves a therapeutic relationship built on trust, where the focus is solely on your well-being. Unlike conversations with friends, therapy sessions are dedicated to your growth, self-discovery, and addressing mental health concerns through a structured and goal-oriented approach. Therapists bring expertise, specialized knowledge, and techniques to facilitate insight, provide guidance, and help you develop coping strategies.

The terms “counseling” and “therapy” are often used interchangeably, and the distinction between them can vary depending on context and individual perspectives. The definitions are highly debated. Some people view counseling as a process that focuses on specific issues or challenges, such as career concerns, relationship difficulties, or academic problems. It may involve short-term interventions and is aimed at providing guidance, support, and practical solutions to address immediate concerns. On the other hand, some people view therapy as a broader term that encompasses a range of therapeutic approaches and interventions. It may delve deeper into the underlying emotions, thoughts, and patterns of behavior that contribute to an individual’s overall well-being. Some people believe therapy is more long-term and can be beneficial for addressing complex mental health issues, exploring personal growth, and gaining insight into deeper emotional processes. However, these ideas are not fixed.

Ultimately, while the terms counseling and therapy may have nuanced differences, both aim to provide support and assistance to individuals in navigating life’s challenges and promoting overall mental and emotional well-being. Feel free to use either term in our work together or let us know which you prefer.

Therapists can have different letters behind their names to signify their specific qualifications, training, and areas of expertise. These letters often represent professional credentials and licenses obtained through education, clinical experience, and certification processes. Common letters you may encounter include LMSW (Licensed Master’s Social Worker), LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology), and many more. These designations reflect the therapist’s educational background, degree, and the licensing requirements of their respective disciplines.

The terms “psychotherapist,” “psychologist,” and “psychiatrist” refer to professionals in the mental health field, but they differ in their training, qualifications, and scope of practice. A psychotherapist is a broad term that encompasses professionals who provide therapy or counseling to individuals, couples, or groups. They can have different educational backgrounds and credentials, such as licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, or psychologists. At a minimum, psychotherapists have Masters degrees.

A psychologist can be considered a specific type of psychotherapist who has completed a degree in psychology (typically a Ph.D. or Psy.D., but some have only a Masters in psychology.). They are qualified to provide psychotherapy and may also conduct psychological testing, research, and other specialized areas within the field of psychology. However, it’s worth noting that not all psychotherapists are psychologists, as individuals with different educational backgrounds, such as social workers or counselors, can also provide psychotherapy services.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D. or D.O.) who specialize in mental health. One of the primary distinctions between psychiatrists and other mental health professionals is that psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medications. They have gone to medical school and have had extensive training in psychopharmacology, which is the study of how medications can be used to treat mental health conditions. Alongside prescribing medications, psychiatrists may also provide psychotherapy, although many focus primarily on medication management.

Beyond psychiatrists, other healthcare providers who can prescribe mental health medication include psychiatric physician assistants, psychiatric nurse practitioners, primary care doctors, and others who are trained in mental health medication management.

The therapeutic relationship is one of intimacy and strength. Without a good therapeutic relationship, there can be no productive therapy. How a patient and therapist engage is the most important factor when considering the success of therapy. The relationship and “fit” between you and your therapist are essential to establishing a safe environment where you can intimately share your internal experiences within the therapeutic space. It is the relationship that provides space for reflection and healing without fear of any judgment.

For some people, this may be one of the first times they have formed an intimate connection with another person where their feelings, thoughts, or ideas have been authentically heard, understood, and valued, and where they have not had to censor themselves in any way. Our therapists at River Oaks Psychology recognize the vulnerability and bravery of our patients when engaging in this process. We understand that beginning therapy can be overwhelming. This is why we work so hard to make every patient feel like they belong here.

We strive to ensure a personalized and suitable match between patients and therapists. When you reach out to us, we will gather information about your specific needs, concerns, and preferences. This initial conversation allows us to understand your unique circumstances and the goals you hope to achieve through therapy. Based on this information, we will carefully consider our team of qualified therapists and their areas of expertise, therapeutic approaches, and personalities. We take into account factors such as your comfort level, cultural background, and therapeutic style preferences. Our goal is to find a therapist who aligns well with your individual needs, creating a strong therapeutic alliance from the start. We believe that a positive and trusting relationship between you and your therapist is crucial for successful therapy outcomes.

We carefully select therapists who meet the highest professional standards and possess the necessary qualifications and expertise. Our therapists are licensed professionals who have completed extensive education and training in their respective fields. They hold advanced degrees in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related discipline and have undergone rigorous clinical training and supervised experience. Additionally, our therapists adhere to professional ethical guidelines and participate in ongoing professional development to stay up-to-date with the latest research and therapeutic approaches.

We encourage you to ask your therapist questions about their qualifications. Our therapists understand the significance of building trust and ensuring that you feel comfortable with their qualifications. Feel free to ask your therapist about their therapeutic approach, theoretical orientation, and how they stay current with advancements in the field. Your therapist is dedicated to your well-being and will take the time to address any concerns or questions you may have regarding their qualifications or therapeutic practice.

YES. Your happiness and growth are our top priority. Sometimes you just don’t click with a person. Maybe you feel like you’re not making progress. You might feel like you need a fresh perspective. Sometimes we just need to change things up. Therapy can only be productive and successful if you are able to connect deeply and form a strong alliance with your therapist.

If you decide at any point – for any reason – that you would prefer a different therapist, please let us know. You will not hurt your therapist’s feelings. We want you to speak up (asserting your feelings is a part of healthy communication!). You always have the right to request transferring to a different therapist at River Oaks Psychology and your therapist will help you with the process so that a smooth transition occurs.

If, by chance, we see our patients in the community outside of sessions, we will not initiate greetings or conversations. We will only engage with you IF YOU INITIATE CONTACT. This is because your right to privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance, and we will not jeopardize your rights. For example, you may be with family or friends in the community, and it would not be appropriate for us to approach you and jeopardize your privacy by publicly displaying an association between you and therapy services.

Therapists establish boundaries with their patients for several important reasons. Boundaries are an essential aspect of maintaining a safe, ethical, and professional therapeutic relationship. They create a clear framework for the therapeutic process, ensuring that both the therapist and patient understand their roles and responsibilities. Boundaries help establish a professional distance that allows therapists to remain objective and provide unbiased support and guidance. They also help maintain the focus on the patient’s needs and ensure that therapy remains centered on their well-being. Boundaries also serve to protect the therapist’s own well-being and prevent any potential conflicts of interest. By maintaining appropriate boundaries, therapists can create a therapeutic space that is free from dual relationships or personal biases, fostering trust, respect, and a healthy therapeutic alliance. These boundaries promote the safety and integrity of the therapeutic process and support the client’s overall growth and healing.

Without boundaries, feelings become muddled and you might feel like you are becoming friends or more-than-friends with your therapist. This is extremely common but critical to address. Under no circumstances are dual relationships permitted. Dual relationships are unethical and harmful to both the patient and therapist.

If you begin to feel like your relationship with your therapist is no longer professional (if you begin to desire having your therapist in your life as more than a professional therapist), please let us know about these feelings. Your therapist can help you work to resolve this conflict or support you through a smooth transfer to another therapist at River Oaks Psychology so that your treatment process can remain professional and most effective for you.

When a patient maintains boundaries, this means they remember the therapist is a professional (not a friend, parent, neighbor, etc.). They do not ask for inappropriate things from the therapist (asking to come to special life events, asking for special treatment, etc.). They do not take advantage of the therapist’s time, abilities, or services, and they do not make unreasonable demands of the therapist. Maintaining these boundaries allows the patient to achieve the most effective therapy outcomes without disruptions due to boundary violations.

You are allowed to disagree! We understand that therapy is a collaborative process, and it is normal to have differing opinions or perspectives from your therapist. Open and honest communication is encouraged, and we value your input as an active participant in your therapeutic journey. If you find yourself disagreeing with your therapist, it is important to express your concerns or viewpoints openly during your sessions. This provides an opportunity for exploration, clarification, and mutual understanding. Your therapist is trained to handle disagreements and can work with you to address any conflicts or misunderstandings that may arise. They are dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment where your concerns can be heard and discussed in a respectful manner. Remember that therapy is a partnership, and your therapist is there to support your growth and well-being. Together, you can navigate through any disagreements and work towards finding common ground or alternative perspectives that align with your therapeutic goals.

No, it is not appropriate for any therapist to pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do. Your therapist’s role is to support and guide you on your therapeutic journey. They are committed to respecting your autonomy and personal boundaries throughout the process. It is essential to establish a collaborative therapeutic relationship built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect. Your therapist will work with you to identify and explore goals that are meaningful and relevant to you. They will offer strategies, techniques, or suggestions that align with your therapeutic needs, but ultimately, the decisions and choices regarding your therapy are yours to make. Your therapist will not force or coerce you into doing anything that you are not comfortable with. They will respect your values, preferences, and limits, while encouraging you to challenge yourself within your own comfort zone. Open communication with your therapist is crucial, and if at any point you feel uncomfortable or have concerns about the therapy process, it is important to discuss them openly. Your therapist is there to support and empower you on your therapeutic journey, always ensuring that you are an active participant in the decisions made regarding your treatment.

No, because at River Oaks Psychology, we prioritize your individuality and understand that each person’s journey is unique. Your therapist will not compare you to other patients. Therapy is a deeply personal and confidential process, and your therapist is committed to creating a safe and non-judgmental space where you can freely explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They will listen to you with empathy, understanding, and without any preconceived notions. Your therapist’s focus is solely on understanding your specific concerns, goals, and needs, and tailoring the therapy to support your growth and well-being. Rest assured that your therapist respects your privacy and will approach your therapy with utmost respect for your individuality.

The depiction of therapy in movies and other forms of media can sometimes be sensationalized or dramatized for entertainment purposes. While some elements may resemble real therapy experiences, it’s important to remember that everyone’s therapy journey is unique, and the portrayal of therapy in movies is often fictionalized for storytelling purposes. Real therapy sessions typically involve open and honest conversations between you and your therapist, aimed at addressing your specific concerns and goals. Therapy is a collaborative process focused on your well-being and personal growth. It may involve discussing emotions, exploring patterns of thinking and behavior, and learning coping strategies. The pace and focus of therapy will depend on your individual needs and the therapeutic approach used by your therapist. It’s helpful to approach therapy with an open mind and not rely solely on movie portrayals as accurate representations of the therapy experience.

No, you do not have to be experiencing a certain level of stress to seek therapy. Therapy is not limited to individuals in crisis or extreme distress. It is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to enhance their overall well-being, personal growth, or address specific concerns or challenges in their lives. Therapy can help individuals gain self-awareness, develop coping strategies, improve relationships, manage emotions, and navigate life transitions more effectively. It is a proactive and empowering step towards self-improvement and mental health maintenance. Whether you are facing significant stressors or simply seeking support, therapy can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It is open to individuals at all stages of life and can be beneficial for various concerns, from daily stressors to long-standing issues.

 

It is entirely normal to feel unsure about your goals for therapy, and it’s a common concern many individuals have when starting therapy. In fact, exploring and clarifying your goals is often a part of the therapeutic process itself. Your therapist can guide you in this exploration by asking questions, listening attentively, and providing insight. Together, you and your therapist can collaboratively identify areas of your life or aspects of your mental health that you would like to address or improve. You can also discuss any challenges or issues that are currently affecting your well-being. Sometimes, simply expressing a desire for personal growth, greater self-understanding, or improved emotional well-being can be a starting point. Remember that therapy is a dynamic process, and your goals may evolve and become clearer as you progress. The important thing is to communicate openly with your therapist, express any uncertainties or questions you may have, and trust in the therapeutic journey to help you discover and define your goals over time.

If you’re feeling nervous about therapy, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate those feelings. First, remind yourself that it’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain about starting therapy, as it involves opening up about personal thoughts and emotions. Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge that seeking therapy is a courageous step toward improving your well-being. It can also be helpful to educate yourself about the therapy process and what to expect in the first session. Consider writing down any specific concerns or questions you have and bring them up with your therapist during the initial session. Engaging in self-care activities, such as practicing mindfulness or engaging in activities that help you relax, can also be beneficial. Lastly, remember that therapists are trained professionals who are there to support and guide you in a non-judgmental way. Building a trusting relationship takes time, so be patient and allow yourself to gradually open up during the therapy process.

To make the most of your therapy sessions, we recommend taking a few simple steps to prepare beforehand. First, find a quiet and comfortable space where you can have privacy and minimize distractions during your session. Set aside dedicated time, free from other commitments, to ensure you can fully engage in the therapy process. Reflect on any significant events, thoughts, or emotions you may have experienced since your last session. Jot down any topics, questions, or concerns you would like to discuss with your therapist. This can help you stay focused and ensure that you cover the most important aspects during your session. It’s also helpful to have any relevant materials, such as a journal, notebook, or previous therapy notes, nearby for reference. Lastly, approach each session with an open mind and a willingness to engage in self-reflection and growth. Remember, therapy is a collaborative effort, and your active participation plays a crucial role in the therapeutic process.

It’s impossible! There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do therapy. Therapy is a unique and personal journey, and it is normal to have concerns or doubts about the process. It’s important to remember that therapy is a collaborative and non-judgmental space where you can explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences at your own pace. Your therapist is there to provide guidance, support, and professional expertise to help you navigate your challenges and work towards your goals. It’s natural to have ups and downs during therapy, and your therapist is equipped to help you through those moments. Trust in the therapeutic process, be open and honest with your therapist, and allow yourself the opportunity to grow and heal. Remember, therapy is about your well-being, and your therapist is there to support you every step of the way.

No worries! It is common for patients to reassess or modify their therapy goals as they progress. Your goals may evolve as you gain new insights, overcome challenges, or experience changes in your life circumstances. We believe in the importance of collaborative goal-setting, and your therapist is committed to working with you to ensure that your therapy aligns with your evolving needs and aspirations. If you feel the desire to change or adjust your therapy goals, simply communicate this to your therapist during your sessions. They will listen attentively, explore your reasons for wanting to make a change, and collaborate with you to redefine and refine your goals.

Therapy is a confidential and private process, and generally, nobody will find out that you’re going to therapy unless you choose to share that information with them. Confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of therapy, and we prioritize the protection of your personal information and privacy. As therapists, we are legally bound by professional regulations and ethics to maintain confidentiality. This means that under normal circumstances no one outside of River Oaks Psychology is given any information — even the fact that you have ever been a patient here — without your expressed written consent. Our primary goal is to provide you with a safe, trusted environment in which you feel comfortable to discuss your intimate experiences without judgment.

However, there are some legal limits to confidentiality, such as instances of potential serious danger or abuse. To fully understand the legal limits and specific situations that therapists legally must report, please visit our page on Confidentiality.

A therapy treatment plan is a collaborative roadmap that outlines the goals, strategies, and interventions tailored to your unique therapeutic needs. At River Oaks Psychology, we believe in the importance of developing a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan to guide our therapeutic work together. The treatment plan is created in collaboration with your therapist, taking into consideration your specific concerns, strengths, and desired outcomes. It serves as a framework for organizing and structuring your therapy sessions, ensuring that the therapeutic process remains focused, purposeful, and effective. The treatment plan outlines the goals you wish to achieve, the therapeutic approaches that will be used, and the estimated timeline for reaching those goals. It provides a sense of direction and clarity, allowing you to track your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions implemented.

Your therapist will regularly review and update the treatment plan to ensure it remains relevant and responsive to your evolving needs. By establishing a therapy treatment plan, we strive to provide you with a structured and goal-oriented therapeutic experience that maximizes your growth, healing, and overall well-being.

Homework between sessions is not mandatory or required. The need for homework depends on the specific goals, treatment approach, and individualized treatment plan developed in collaboration with your therapist. While some therapeutic modalities may incorporate homework as part of the process, it is not a universal requirement. Your therapist will work closely with you to determine the most effective and tailored approach to your therapy. They will consider your preferences, needs, and progress to ensure that the therapy process is meaningful and beneficial for you. If homework assignments are deemed necessary or beneficial for your specific situation, your therapist will discuss them with you in detail, provide clear instructions, and support you throughout the process. However, if homework is not included as part of your therapy, it does not diminish the effectiveness or impact of the therapy itself. Our primary focus is to create a therapeutic environment that supports your growth, healing, and well-being, and we will work collaboratively with you to achieve those goals.

We understand that knowing if therapy is working is an important aspect of your therapeutic journey. The effectiveness of therapy can vary from person to person, and it may take time to notice significant changes. However, there are several indicators that can help you gauge the progress and effectiveness of your therapy. You may notice improvements in your overall well-being, such as a greater sense of self-awareness, increased coping skills, enhanced relationships, or a reduction in distressing symptoms. Therapy can also provide you with a safe space to explore and process difficult emotions, gain new perspectives, and develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving. Regular and open communication with your therapist is crucial in assessing the progress of therapy. They will collaborate with you to set realistic goals, monitor your progress, and adjust interventions as needed.

It’s important to remember that therapy is a gradual and ongoing process, and it is normal to have ups and downs along the way. Your therapist will work closely with you to ensure that therapy is tailored to your specific needs and that you are actively engaged in the process. Ultimately, the effectiveness of therapy is a personal experience, and we encourage you to regularly evaluate your own growth, satisfaction, and progress in therapy to determine its impact on your overall well-being.

Of course! We highly encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback during your therapy sessions. Your active participation is vital in creating a collaborative and effective therapeutic relationship. We value open communication and believe that your questions, concerns, and feedback are essential for tailoring the therapy to your specific needs and goals. You are the expert on your own experiences, and your input helps guide the therapeutic process. Your therapist will create a safe and non-judgmental space where you can freely express yourself and explore any uncertainties or curiosities you may have. They will actively listen, validate your experiences, and provide thoughtful responses to your questions. By engaging in dialogue and sharing your thoughts, you can enhance the therapeutic experience and maximize the benefits of therapy.

There will likely come a time when you feel ready to end or pause therapy. We respect your autonomy and believe in your right to make decisions about your mental health care. If you wish to stop therapy, we encourage you to discuss your thoughts and feelings openly with your therapist. They are here to support you throughout your therapeutic process, including if you decide to discontinue therapy. Your therapist will work with you to explore your reasons for wanting to stop and address any concerns or unresolved issues. They can provide closure and help you navigate the transition, ensuring that you feel supported and empowered in your decision. It is important to remember that therapy is a collaborative process, and your therapist is committed to your well-being. They will respect your choice while also providing any necessary recommendations or resources to assist you in maintaining your mental health.

Deciding whether to talk about therapy with friends or family is a personal choice that depends on various factors, including your comfort level and the dynamics of your relationships. Some individuals find it helpful and supportive to discuss their therapy experiences with trusted friends or family members. Sharing this information can provide a sense of validation, understanding, and emotional support. It may also help educate others about the importance of mental health and reduce any stigma associated with therapy. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone may have a positive or supportive reaction, as attitudes towards therapy can vary. If you do choose to discuss therapy, consider sharing with individuals you trust and feel comfortable with, while being mindful of your own boundaries and what you’re comfortable sharing. Ultimately, the decision to talk about therapy with friends or family is a personal one and should be based on your own judgment and comfort level.

At River Oaks Psychology, we believe in a collaborative approach to your mental health care. While it is not mandatory to inform your doctor that you are going to therapy, it can be beneficial to share this information with them. Your doctor plays a vital role in your overall health, and having a complete understanding of your healthcare journey allows them to provide comprehensive and coordinated care. By informing your doctor about your therapy, they can have a clearer picture of your mental health status, which can inform their medical decision-making process. Additionally, certain medical conditions or medications may have an impact on your mental well-being, and your doctor may offer valuable insights or recommendations that can complement your therapy. However, the decision to disclose your therapy journey to your doctor is ultimately up to you, and we respect your privacy and confidentiality. Your therapist will collaborate with you to ensure that your therapy remains a safe and confidential space where you can openly discuss your concerns without fear of judgment or disclosure to others.

Sometimes. It depends on your therapist’s trainings or certifications, which may or may not equip them to legitimately provide documentation needs like this. Any documentation needs should be discussed with your therapist. Your therapist will let you know if your requests can be fulfilled or whether your documentation needs would be better served by another professional.

About Medication

At River Oaks Psychology, we understand that deciding whether medication is the right path for your mental health is a significant decision. Our person-centered approach emphasizes your unique experiences, preferences, and concerns. When considering medication, our experienced mental health professionals conduct thorough assessments, engaging in open dialogue to ensure your voice is heard throughout the decision-making process.

We recognize that medication may not be the right choice for everyone, and we honor the uniqueness of each individual’s mental health journey. While medication can be a vital and effective component of treatment for some individuals, we understand that preferences, experiences, and circumstances vary. Our approach is rooted in the understanding that mental health care is not one-size-fits-all. We engage in thoughtful and personalized discussions with our patients, acknowledging that alternative interventions, such as therapy or lifestyle changes, may be more suitable for some. Our commitment is to respect and respond to the diverse needs of our clients, working collaboratively to create tailored treatment plans that reflect their individual goals and well-being.

Above all, our collaborative approach means that you play an integral role in determining the most suitable interventions, whether they involve medication, therapy, or a combination of both. We prioritize your well-being and quality of life, aiming to address not only the symptoms but also the underlying factors contributing to your mental health challenges. Our team will provide detailed explanations about the potential benefits and risks associated with medication, ensuring that you have the knowledge needed to make informed choices about your mental health care. If deciding to include medication in your treatment, we offer continuous support and regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress, address any emerging concerns, and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

Medication for mental health can be a valuable tool in managing various conditions by influencing the brain’s chemical balance and neurotransmitter activity. The specific ways in which medication helps individuals can vary based on the type of medication prescribed and the nature of the mental health condition. Here are some general ways in which medication can be beneficial:

Stabilizing Neurotransmitters:  Many mental health medications work by influencing the levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine, in the brain. This can help regulate mood, reduce anxiety, or stabilize emotions.

Alleviating Symptoms:  Medications can effectively alleviate symptoms associated with mental health conditions. For example, antidepressants may help lift mood and reduce feelings of sadness, while antianxiety medications can alleviate excessive worry or panic.

Improving Cognitive Function:  Some medications can enhance cognitive function, making it easier for individuals to concentrate, focus, and engage in daily activities. This is particularly relevant for conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Aiding Sleep and Energy Levels:  Certain medications can address disruptions in sleep patterns associated with mental health conditions, promoting better sleep quality. Additionally, they may help regulate energy levels, reducing feelings of fatigue or lethargy.

Preventing Relapse:  For individuals with chronic or recurring mental health conditions, medication can play a crucial role in preventing relapses by providing ongoing stabilization and symptom management.

Enhancing Therapy:  Medication can enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy by addressing biological aspects of mental health conditions. This allows individuals to engage more fully in therapeutic interventions, gaining maximum benefit from the therapeutic process.

It’s important to note that medication is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and its effectiveness can vary among individuals. Additionally, medication is often most beneficial when combined with other therapeutic approaches, such as counseling, lifestyle modifications, and support networks. The decision to use medication should be made in collaboration with our qualified mental health professionals, taking into account your individual specific symptoms, preferences, and overall treatment goals.

Typically, we recommend starting with therapy as the initial option at River Oaks Psychology. Therapy provides a supportive environment for exploring and addressing mental health concerns, developing coping strategies, and gaining insights into patterns of thinking and behavior. It allows for a collaborative and personalized approach that can be highly effective for many individuals.

However, circumstances vary from person to person, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In certain situations where symptoms are severe, or there is a clear biological component to the mental health condition, our experienced team may suggest considering medication as part of the treatment plan from the start. The decision to integrate medication is always made collaboratively, taking into account your preferences, the nature of your symptoms, and your overall treatment goals.

It’s important to note that if you choose to initiate your treatment with medication, we highly recommend concurrent engagement in therapy. While medication can effectively address certain symptoms, therapy complements this by providing a supportive space for exploring the underlying factors contributing to your mental health challenges. Therapy equips you with valuable coping skills, helps build resilience, and enhances self-awareness, creating a more comprehensive and lasting foundation for well-being. The combination of medication and therapy often yields the best outcomes, addressing both the biological and psychological aspects of mental health. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your treatment plan is not only effective but also aligned with your individual preferences and goals.

Our priority is to work with you to create a tailored and comprehensive treatment plan that best meets your individual needs. Whether beginning with therapy or considering medication, our team is dedicated to providing the support and guidance necessary for your journey toward improved mental well-being.

At River Oaks Psychology, we advocate for a comprehensive and holistic approach to mental health care. While medication can be a valuable tool in managing symptoms, therapy plays a crucial and complementary role in achieving long-term well-being. Here are some reasons why we recommend therapy in conjunction with medication:

Addressing Root Causes:  Therapy allows individuals to explore and address the underlying causes of their mental health challenges. While medication can alleviate symptoms, therapy helps identify and work through the root issues, fostering lasting emotional and psychological growth.

Enhancing Coping Skills:  Therapy provides a supportive environment to develop effective coping mechanisms and skills for managing stress, anxiety, or depressive thoughts. These skills empower individuals to navigate life’s challenges more effectively, reducing reliance on medication over time.

Improving Self-Awareness:  Through therapy, individuals gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This increased self-awareness can contribute to better self-management, fostering personal growth and resilience.

Building a Therapeutic Alliance:  The therapeutic relationship formed in counseling can be a powerful source of support. The connection between the individual and the therapist creates a safe space for exploration, self-expression, and collaborative goal-setting.

Promoting Lasting Change:  While medication can provide relief from symptoms, therapy aims at creating lasting changes in patterns of thinking and behavior. This can lead to sustained improvements in overall mental health and well-being.

Tailoring Treatment to Individual Needs:  Every individual is unique, and therapy allows for a personalized and flexible approach to treatment. Therapists work collaboratively with clients to tailor interventions based on specific needs, preferences, and treatment goals.

Monitoring Medication Efficacy:  Regular therapy sessions provide an opportunity to monitor the efficacy of medication and make any necessary adjustments. Therapists and individuals can work together to assess progress, address concerns, and optimize the overall treatment plan.

In essence, the combination of medication and therapy creates a synergistic effect, offering a more comprehensive and integrated approach to mental health care. We are dedicated to providing personalized, evidence-based treatment that addresses the unique needs of each individual, promoting holistic well-being and lasting positive change.

Absolutely. Fostering open communication and addressing your concerns about medication side effects is a central aspect of our commitment to your mental health care. When you meet with your provider, you can certainly expect a comprehensive discussion about medication, including a detailed exploration of potential side effects. We understand the significance of providing clear and transparent education on this matter, and we take it very seriously.

Our experienced and empathetic providers prioritize creating an environment where you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and asking questions. They will walk you through the potential side effects associated with the prescribed medications, ensuring that you are well-informed about what to expect. This process allows you to make informed decisions about your mental health treatment, aligning with our person-centered approach.

In addition, our commitment to ongoing support means that discussions about medication are not limited to the initial appointment. We encourage open communication throughout your treatment journey. If you experience any side effects or have additional questions after starting medication, our providers will be readily available to address your concerns and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Our goal is to empower you with knowledge, alleviate any uncertainties you may have, and work together to ensure that your mental health treatment aligns with your unique needs and preferences. Your well-being is our top priority, and we are here to provide the guidance and support you need on your path to mental wellness.

If, during your appointment, your medication provider makes a clinical decision to prescribe medication, they will electronically send the prescription to your preferred pharmacy. It’s important to note that prescriptions or refills are only issued during scheduled appointments with your medication provider.

To maintain the continuity of care, it is imperative to attend all scheduled appointments and adhere to the recommended follow-up schedule. This ensures ongoing assessment of your mental health status, evaluation of the effectiveness of the prescribed medication, and the opportunity to address any emerging concerns. If you miss an appointment and require a refill, it will be necessary to schedule a new appointment with your prescribing provider before a refill can be sent to your pharmacy. Our main office will NOT be able to call in prescriptions for you. This can only be done during your actual medication appointments when you are verbally communicating with your medication provider.

During medication appointments, we strongly encourage you to have your pill bottles available. This practice helps ensure that you have an adequate supply of medication and allows for a thorough discussion about your medication regimen. Your active participation in the treatment process, including regular attendance and open communication with your provider, is crucial for maintaining the highest standard of care and promoting your overall well-being.

The frequency of your appointments with your medication provider at River Oaks Psychology will be determined based on your individual needs and the nature of your mental health treatment plan. Initially, appointments may be more frequent to closely monitor your response to medication, assess any potential side effects, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. As you progress and stabilize, the frequency of appointments may be adjusted accordingly.

Regular check-ins with your medication provider are essential for ongoing care and to ensure that your treatment plan continues to align with your evolving mental health needs. These appointments offer an opportunity to discuss your experiences, address any concerns or questions you may have, and collaboratively assess the effectiveness of the prescribed medication.

It is important to actively participate in the recommended follow-up schedule to facilitate the highest standard of care. This commitment to regular appointments helps your provider stay informed about your mental health status, make informed decisions about your medication, and provide any necessary support or adjustments to enhance your overall well-being.

Ultimately, the frequency of appointments will be discussed and agreed upon between you and your medication provider, taking into account your individual progress, preferences, and treatment goals. Our goal at River Oaks Psychology is to provide personalized and effective care, ensuring that you receive the support you need throughout your mental health journey.

If you find that you are not comfortable with or are experiencing unwanted side effects from the prescribed medication, it’s crucial to communicate openly with your medication provider at River Oaks Psychology. Your provider is here to work collaboratively with you to ensure that your treatment plan aligns with your needs and preferences. Here are steps you can take:

Communication:  Discuss your concerns openly with your medication provider. Share any specific side effects, discomfort, or reservations you may have. Effective communication allows your provider to better understand your experience and explore alternatives.

Adjustments and Alternatives:  Your medication provider may be able to make adjustments to the current medication, such as changing the dosage or trying a different formulation. Additionally, they may explore alternative medications that may better suit your individual response and preferences.

Education:  Your provider will offer information about the potential side effects and benefits of the medication, helping you make an informed decision about whether the current prescription is the best fit for you.

Exploring Other Interventions:  In some cases, medication may be one component of a broader treatment plan. Your provider can explore other therapeutic interventions, lifestyle changes, or non-pharmacological approaches that may complement or serve as an alternative to medication.

Follow-Up Appointments:  Attend follow-up appointments as scheduled to discuss your experiences with the medication. These appointments provide opportunities for ongoing assessment and adjustment of your treatment plan.

It’s important to remember that finding the right medication and dosage often involves a process of trial and error. Patience is key, and maintaining open lines of communication with your provider ensures that your treatment plan can be adjusted to better suit your needs. Your well-being is the priority at River Oaks Psychology, and your feedback plays a crucial role in tailoring your mental health care to best support you on your journey to improved well-being.

Psychiatric medication often involves a process of trial and error, a nuanced journey influenced by the complexities of mental health conditions and the unique responses of individuals to medication. At River Oaks Psychology, we are committed to guiding you through this intricate process with empathy and expertise. Here are some reasons why finding the right psychiatric medication may require careful exploration:

Diverse Mental Health Conditions:  The vast spectrum of psychiatric disorders requires a tailored approach to address specific symptoms and underlying neurobiological mechanisms, acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual’s experience.

Individual Biochemistry:  Recognizing that every person has a distinctive biochemical makeup, our commitment involves understanding how your body metabolizes and responds to medications, ensuring a personalized and effective treatment plan.

Neurotransmitter Complexity:  Mental health conditions often involve imbalances in neurotransmitters, necessitating an in-depth understanding to adjust these chemical messengers appropriately, an approach we undertake with precision and care.

Side Effects and Tolerability:  Acknowledging the potential side effects of psychiatric medications and understanding variations in tolerance, our commitment extends to finding the right balance between symptom relief and minimizing any associated discomfort.

Comorbidity and Complexity:  Considering the possible coexistence of medical conditions or other medications, our comprehensive approach involves managing potential interactions and addressing the multifaceted nature of your health.

Delayed Onset of Action:  Patience is fundamental in psychiatric medication, as therapeutic effects may take time to manifest. Our commitment to ongoing monitoring ensures that your treatment plan is adjusted as needed for optimal efficacy.

Psychosocial Factors:   We recognize the impact of external factors on psychiatric medication effectiveness. Our commitment extends to adapting the treatment plan to accommodate psychosocial considerations such as stressors, lifestyle, and support systems.

Trial of Different Classes:  We understand that exploring different classes of medications may be necessary. Our commitment involves working collaboratively to find the most effective intervention, whether through adjusting dosage, trying different classes, or considering combination therapies.

Individual Preferences and Values:  At River Oaks Psychology, our commitment to collaborative decision-making ensures that your preferences, values, and treatment goals are integral to the medication selection process, promoting a holistic and patient-centered approach.

Through each step of the trial-and-error process, we are dedicated to providing the support and expertise needed to navigate the complexities of psychiatric medication. Our commitment is centered on your well-being, and we aim to optimize treatment outcomes by tailoring interventions to your unique needs and responses. Regular and open communication forms the foundation of our collaborative approach as we guide you through this important aspect of your mental health journey.

Yes, it is completely normal to take psychiatric medication, and it can be a beneficial and valuable part of mental health treatment for many people. At River Oaks Psychology, we emphasize that there is no reason to feel ashamed or stigmatized for seeking support through medication. Mental health conditions are diverse, and medication can play a crucial role in helping individuals manage symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

We are committed to normalizing the use of psychiatric medication as a valid and effective tool in the spectrum of mental health care. Our approach is rooted in the understanding that everyone’s journey is unique, and living your best life often involves a combination of therapeutic interventions. Seeking the support you need, including the consideration of medication, is a courageous and proactive step towards mental well-being.

We encourage open conversations about mental health, erasing stigma, and fostering an environment where individuals feel empowered to prioritize their mental health and live fulfilling lives. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to support you on your path to a healthier and happier life.

Yes, it is essential to inform your other healthcare providers about any medication you are taking for mental health, and vice versa. Communication between all members of your healthcare team is crucial for comprehensive and coordinated care. Medications for mental health conditions may have interactions with other medications or treatments prescribed by different healthcare providers. Sharing your medication list and current symptoms with ALL of your healthcare providers – including your providers here at River Oaks Psychology – ensures a comprehensive understanding of your overall health.

In addition, some medications prescribed for mental health may interact with medications prescribed by other healthcare providers, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced effectiveness. Informing all healthcare providers allows for careful consideration of potential interactions and adjustments to treatment plans if necessary. Further, mental health medications may have side effects that could impact other aspects of your health. Sharing this information allows your healthcare team to monitor and manage any side effects effectively, ensuring a proactive and integrated approach to your care.

Above all, keeping all healthcare providers informed empowers you and them to make informed decisions about your care. We emphasize the importance of an integrated and collaborative approach to healthcare. Sharing information about your mental health medication with all your healthcare providers ensures that you receive comprehensive and personalized care that takes into account all aspects of your well-being. 


The timeline for the effectiveness of psychiatric medications can vary widely among individuals. It’s crucial to recognize that discussing your specific situation with your medication provider is essential for personalized guidance. Different medications have diverse onset times, and individual responses are influenced by factors such as the nature of the mental health condition, overall health, and the presence of coexisting conditions.

Consistent and open communication with your medication provider is key during this process. If you have concerns about the timeline or are experiencing side effects, discussing these matters with your provider allows for a collaborative approach to address your unique needs. Your provider can monitor your response, make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan, and provide guidance on the expected timeline for improvements. Remember, finding the most effective and well-tolerated medication often involves ongoing dialogue and a personalized approach tailored to your individual circumstances.

Deciding whether to stop taking medication for mental health is a significant decision that must be approached thoughtfully and in consultation with your medication provider. Do not make any changes to your medication plan without approval from your provider.

While feeling better is a positive indicator of the effectiveness of the treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to discontinue medication. Mental health conditions often require ongoing management, and medications are prescribed with a specific treatment plan in mind. Abruptly stopping certain medications can lead to withdrawal symptoms or a recurrence of symptoms. Your provider will guide you through a gradual tapering process if discontinuation is deemed appropriate.

It’s important to recognize that mental health conditions are often chronic or recurrent, and stopping medication prematurely may increase the risk of relapse. Regular follow-up appointments with your provider allow for ongoing monitoring, assessment of your condition’s stability, and adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

The decision to discontinue medication is highly individualized and depends on various factors, including the nature of the mental health condition, your overall health, and your response to treatment. Your provider will provide information to help you make an educated decision about the best course of action for your mental health. Even if medication is reduced or discontinued, ongoing psychotherapy or other therapeutic interventions may play a crucial role in maintaining positive mental well-being.

Open communication with your provider ensures that any changes to your medication regimen are made in a controlled and supportive manner, with your individual needs and well-being at the forefront of the decision-making process.

While your provider will ultimately decide if certain medications are right for you based on their clinical expertise and medical training, you are encouraged to openly communicate about your individual needs, preferences, and goals. You have the right to actively participate in decisions about your mental health treatment, including the choice of medication.

Feel free to express any preferences, concerns, or questions you may have about specific medications. Your provider will consider your input, discuss the available options, and collaborate with you to make informed decisions that align with your treatment goals. It’s important to have an open and transparent dialogue to ensure that the chosen medication is not only clinically appropriate but also takes into account your comfort, values, and unique needs.

Remember that your provider is there to guide you through the decision-making process, providing information and support as you work together to create a treatment plan that best fits your individual circumstances. Our commitment is to empower you in every aspect of your mental health journey. We understand that your well-being is deeply personal, and we strive to create an environment where you feel heard, respected, and actively involved in your treatment decisions.

Addressing concerns about long-term medication use is an integral part of the collaborative and person-centered approach at River Oaks Psychology. If you find yourself with apprehensions about the prospect of taking medication over an extended period, share your apprehensions openly with your medication provider. Discuss any worries you may have about the long-term implications of medication use, including potential side effects or lifestyle considerations. Your concerns are valid, and your provider is here to listen and understand your perspectives.

Your provider at River Oaks Psychology will work with you to explore alternative treatment options or make adjustments to your current plan. This may involve considering non-pharmacological interventions, changes in dosage, or exploring complementary therapies that align with your preferences and comfort level. Regular follow-up appointments allow your provider to assess your progress, discuss any changes in your symptoms or concerns, and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed. This continuous feedback loop ensures that your care remains responsive to your evolving needs. 

Remember, your concerns are an essential part of the conversation. River Oaks Psychology is committed to providing support, fostering open communication, and working collaboratively with you to find solutions that align with your goals and values on your journey to improved mental well-being.

About Nutrition

When we struggle with our mental health, our nutritional intake is often compromised. Struggling with depression, anxiety, chronic stress, trauma, relationship concerns, grief, low self-esteem, or any other number of mental health concerns can lead to eating concerns. We may struggle to follow a healthy eating routine, not be able to recognize hunger cues, lack the motivation to keep up with grocery shopping, or we may engage in “stress-eating” with an overabundance of comfort foods – foods that while nourishing in different ways, may not be addressing our body’s needs in these times. A dietitian can help you create a personalized plan with realistic and sustainable goals to restore your body’s nutritional wellness while also managing your mental health symptoms.

In addition, our brain heavily relies on nutrients in order to function at its best. It’s important to understand how malnutrition may be contributing to some mental health symptoms, including anxiety and depression. In addition, nutrient deficiencies can make it difficult to concentrate and can impair our ability to think clearly, make sound judgments, and rationalize. Poor nutrition can also affect our memory and learning abilities. If you are experiencing mental health symptoms, feeling behind in school, struggling to keep up with work, feeling extra irritable toward others, or struggling with insomnia, it’s important to explore whether your nutritional patterns are a part of the equation. Working with a dietitian can help you understand how to fuel your brain better, no matter where you are on your journey.

Further, nutrition plays a pivotal role in influencing mental health through various interconnected pathways. One fundamental mechanism involves the production of neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers that regulate mood. Essential amino acids obtained from protein-rich foods are crucial for synthesizing neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, all of which contribute to emotional well-being. Stable blood sugar levels are also imperative for optimal cognitive function and mood stability. Fluctuations in blood sugar, often resulting from poor dietary choices, can impact concentration and overall mental acuity. Moreover, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, often linked to mental health disorders, can be mitigated through a diet rich in antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Diet also influences the composition of gut bacteria, with probiotics and a fiber-rich diet supporting a flourishing microbiota and positively impacting cognitive function.

While these general principles provide insights into the connection between nutrition and mental health, individual responses to diet can vary. Therefore, seeking personalized advice from healthcare professionals, including dietitians, is essential for addressing specific health needs and optimizing mental well-being.

Dietitians play a crucial role in mental health treatment by addressing the intricate connection between nutrition and psychological well-being. Their role encompasses several key aspects that contribute to supporting individuals in their mental health journey:

Nutritional Assessments:  Dietitians conduct comprehensive assessments of an individual’s dietary habits, nutritional intake, and lifestyle factors. This evaluation helps identify potential nutritional imbalances or deficiencies that may contribute to mental health concerns.

Personalized Nutrition Plans:  Based on the assessment, dietitians develop personalized nutrition plans tailored to the unique needs and goals of each individual. These plans take into account dietary preferences, cultural considerations, and any specific mental health conditions.

Mood and Energy Regulation:  Dietitians focus on optimizing nutrient intake to regulate mood and energy levels. They guide individuals in choosing foods that support the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are vital for mood stability.

Addressing Eating Disorders:  For individuals struggling with eating disorders, dietitians collaborate with mental health professionals to develop structured and supportive meal plans. They play a key role in promoting a healthy relationship with food and aiding in the recovery process.

Education and Behavioral Change:  Dietitians educate clients about the impact of nutrition on mental health, empowering them to make informed choices. They also work on behavioral changes, helping individuals adopt sustainable dietary habits that positively influence their psychological well-being.

Collaboration with Mental Health Professionals:  Collaboration between dietitians and other mental health professionals is common. This interdisciplinary approach ensures comprehensive care that addresses both psychological and nutritional aspects of an individual’s well-being.

Support for Stress Management:  Dietitians provide guidance on nutrition strategies that can help manage stress, a common factor in mental health challenges. This may include recommendations for foods that promote relaxation and coping mechanisms for stress-related eating.

In essence, the role of a dietitian in mental health treatment goes beyond dietary recommendations. It involves a holistic and collaborative approach to support individuals in making sustainable lifestyle changes that positively impact their mental health. The integration of nutrition into mental health care reflects the understanding that physical and mental well-being are interconnected.

A dietitian and a mental health therapist serve distinct but complementary roles within the realm of healthcare. A dietitian primarily focuses on nutrition and dietary choices to promote physical health, while a mental health therapist specializes in addressing emotional and psychological well-being. Here are some key differences:

Dietitians:

Focus on Nutrition:  The primary focus of a dietitian is on nutrition and dietary patterns. They assess and provide guidance on food choices, meal planning, and nutritional strategies to support overall health and address specific health concerns.

Physical Health:  Dietitians specialize in promoting physical health through proper nutrition. They may work with individuals to manage chronic conditions, address nutrition deficiency concerns, or optimize one’s energy levels.

Nutritional Education: Dietitians often provide education on the nutritional content of foods, portion control, and the relationship between diet and physical health. They may also assist in managing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or gastrointestinal issues through dietary interventions.

Mental Health Therapists:

Focus on Mental and Emotional Well-being:   Mental health therapists, on the other hand, specialize in addressing mental and emotional well-being. They work with individuals to explore and manage emotions, cope with stress, navigate relationships, and address mental health disorders.

Treatment of Mental Health Conditions: Mental health therapists are trained to diagnose and treat a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and mood disorders. They may use talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and other therapeutic modalities.

Complementary Roles:
While dietitians and mental health therapists have different areas of expertise, their roles can intersect, especially in cases where mental health and nutrition are interconnected. Both play crucial roles in comprehensive healthcare, and in certain cases, collaborative care may be recommended for individuals with overlapping needs in both areas.

The first appointment with a dietitian is an essential step in establishing a personalized and effective nutrition plan. The first appointment with our dietitian, Christina Negrete, begins with a warm introduction, fostering a personal connection between you both. We value your unique story, so you can expect a discussion about your background, medical history, existing health conditions, medications, and current dietary habits in a supportive and individualized manner.

Our person-centered approach places a strong emphasis on collaborative goal setting. Together with Christina, you’ll explore your health and nutrition objectives. Whether you aim to enhance overall well-being, address specific health concerns, or manage a mental health condition, this initial conversation sets the stage for tailoring a plan that aligns with your aspirations. A comprehensive assessment of your current dietary habits follows, where we explore into your typical meals, eating patterns, preferences, and any challenges you may face. This holistic understanding guides our person-centered approach to identifying areas for improvement and recognizing potential nutrient gaps.

You can expect a personalized nutrition education session tailored to your goals. Our person-centered approach involves discussing the fundamental principles of nutrition relevant to your needs. This includes insights into macronutrients, micronutrients, hydration, and the importance of balanced eating. Building on our understanding of your individual needs, Christina will craft a personalized nutrition plan designed exclusively for you. This plan includes specific dietary recommendations, meal planning strategies, and practical tips, to help you feel most empowered.

At River Oaks Psychology, we understand that addressing a history of unhealthy eating habits can be a challenging and deeply personal journey. If you’ve grown up with poor eating patterns, we recognize how difficult it can be to break old habits or resist the allure of guilty pleasures. We want to assure you that, at River Oaks Psychology, you will NEVER be judged. No matter what your eating patterns are, we accept you, we care about you, and we completely empathize with how difficult change can be, especially without support.

If you find yourself relying on food as a coping mechanism, experiencing a lack of variety in your diet, or engaging in disordered eating patterns such as restricting, purging, or bingeing, please know that you are not alone. Other concerning eating patterns may include a lack of regularity when it comes to mealtimes, mindless eating, emotional eating, or eating too quickly.

Our approach is founded on empathy and non-judgment. Working closely with our completely non-judgmental dietitian means that you don’t have to go through it alone. We are here to support you every step of the way as you navigate and transform your relationship with food. Your well-being is our priority, and we are committed to providing a safe, understanding, and compassionate space for you to explore and make positive changes in your eating habits. Remember, your journey towards healthier eating is unique, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

No, making major changes is not necessary or sustainable when working with a dietitian. The approach taken by a dietitian is typically individualized and tailored to your specific needs, preferences, and goals.

Dietitians understand that everyone is unique, and their approach is tailored to individual needs, preferences, and goals. The process typically involves making gradual and sustainable changes, rather than implementing drastic overhauls. The focus is on setting realistic and achievable goals that align with your current lifestyle, allowing for small, consistent adjustments over time. Dietitians provide education about nutrition, empowering you to make informed choices and fostering a positive relationship with food. The plans created are flexible, adaptable to different situations, and can be adjusted based on evolving needs. Additionally, dietitians address behavioral aspects of eating, exploring your relationship with food and identifying strategies for sustainable behavior change. Throughout the process, dietitians offer counseling and support, recognizing that change can be challenging. The collaborative nature of the relationship ensures that your preferences and input are taken into account, making the journey towards better health a manageable and personalized one.

Yes, absolutely! Working with a dietitian can be immensely beneficial for individuals experiencing GI or digestive problems. The gut is a remarkably complex and sensitive system, often referred to as the second brain due to its intricate network of nerves and functions. Experiencing symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort can be challenging, but you’re not alone. Many people face similar concerns, and there’s no need to be shy or hesitant in discussing your symptoms with us. We are here to offer support and guidance in a compassionate and understanding environment.

Collaborating with a dietitian can help you gain a deeper understanding of your specific symptoms, triggers, and patterns related to your digestive health. Whether your GI issues are linked to chronic stress and anxiety or are associated with a medical condition such as Crohn’s Disease, our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and tools to minimize pain and discomfort during and after eating.

We recognize the impact that gastrointestinal problems can have on your overall well-being, and our team is dedicated to helping you reclaim control over your digestive health. Through personalized education and support, we can work with you to develop strategies for managing and maintaining proper gut health. Don’t hesitate to reach out, as we are here to assist you on your journey toward better digestive wellness.

Yes, Christina is well-equipped to provide support and guidance for individuals managing food allergies or coping with chronic illnesses. Whether you’re navigating the complexities of food allergies or dealing with the challenges of a chronic condition, our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and tools to enhance your overall well-being.

For those dealing with food allergies, we can work with you to create a personalized nutrition plan that ensures you are meeting your nutritional needs while avoiding allergens. This includes practical strategies for reading food labels, identifying hidden allergens, and finding suitable alternatives to maintain a balanced and enjoyable diet. We understand that allergic reactions can be serious and even life-threatening. Many people with food allergies face challenges and frustrations until they consult with a dietitian to gain a comprehensive understanding of how their bodies work. Living with a food allergy shouldn’t mean struggling with eating.

We can assist you in navigating your dietary restrictions, ensuring you avoid allergic reactions, feel energized, and obtain the necessary nutrients your body needs. Additionally, we strive to help you discover delicious and enjoyable food options, so you can once again experience the joy of eating without worry. 

For those dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney or liver disease, celiac disease, cancer, diverticulosis, or any other chronic condition, understanding how nutrition affects your body is essential for your overall well-being.  Many of our patients living with chronic illnesses have found that addressing their nutritional needs with a dietitian not only manages their condition but also contributes to both mind and body wellness, allowing them to live more empowered lives.

Our person-centered approach means that we take into account the specific nature of your condition and remain committed to not only providing nutritional guidance but also emotional support. We encourage open communication about your concerns, preferences, and any challenges you may face, ensuring that our approach is tailored to your individual needs and lifestyle.

If you have questions about managing food allergies or navigating the nutritional aspects of a chronic illness, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of dietary management, offering expertise and empathy to support you on your journey to better health.

 

Absolutely. At River Oaks Psychology, we prioritize a collaborative and comprehensive approach to care, especially for individuals dealing with eating disorders. We recognize the complexity of eating disorders and understand that effective treatment often involves a coordinated effort among various healthcare professionals.

Our commitment is to work closely with your other treatment providers, including therapists, physicians, psychiatrists, and any other members of your healthcare team. Collaboration ensures that all aspects of your well-being are considered, and it allows for a more integrated and holistic approach to address the physical, emotional, and nutritional components of eating disorders.

Through open communication and shared insights, we aim to create a supportive network that can address the multifaceted nature of eating disorders. This collaborative effort helps in developing a cohesive treatment plan that aligns with your specific needs and goals. Whether it’s coordinating nutritional counseling, therapy sessions, or medical interventions, our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive and well-coordinated approach to support your journey towards recovery.

If you have existing treatment providers, we encourage you to share their contact information with us. This collaboration allows us to work together to provide you with the best possible care and support. Our team is dedicated to fostering a collaborative and understanding environment to help you achieve lasting recovery from eating disorders.

In today’s information age, there is an overflow of nutrition advice online, but the crucial distinction lies in the quality and reliability of the information. Numerous myths and misconceptions about nutrition exist, and with the abundance of social media, anyone can claim to be a nutrition advisor. The results can be overwhelming, leaving individuals confused about what to believe or whom to trust.

With the constant influx of information online, it’s challenging to discern between evidence-based recommendations and trendy fad diets that may lack scientific backing. Media sources often present conflicting viewpoints, making it difficult to determine the most accurate and beneficial guidance for your unique needs. The truth is, many social media influencers, commercialized eating plans, and food-subscription services primarily exist for profit. Jumping on the latest diet trend may seem tempting, but how do you know if the information is factual and rooted in evidence?

Working with a Registered Dietitian provides a stark contrast to the uncertainties of online advice. A dietitian brings years of formal education and training to the table. They possess the expertise needed to dispel myths and provide you with evidence-based, personalized nutrition guidance. Through collaborative discussions and tailored plans, you will feel empowered to make informed choices based on factual, reliable information. Trusting in the expertise of a professional ensures that your nutritional journey is grounded in science and geared towards your individual well-being.

 

A Health at Every Size® (HAES®) dietitian, such as Christina, subscribes to the principles of the Health at Every Size movement. HAES is an approach to health that emphasizes body acceptance, self-care, and healthy behaviors, rather than focusing solely on weight as a determinant of health. Here are key aspects of what it means to be a Health at Every Size dietitian:

Focus on Health, Not Weight:
HAES dietitians shift the focus from weight-centric measures to promoting overall health and well-being. Instead of pursuing weight loss as the primary goal, the emphasis is on adopting healthy habits that support physical and mental health.

Body Positivity and Acceptance:
HAES promotes body positivity and acceptance, encouraging individuals to appreciate and respect their bodies at any size. This involves fostering a positive relationship with one’s body and challenging societal norms that equate health with a specific body size or shape.

Diverse Health Indicators:
Instead of using weight as the primary indicator of health, HAES considers a range of factors, including physical activity, nutrition, mental health, sleep, and stress management. This approach recognizes that health is multi-dimensional and varies among individuals.

Rejecting Diet Culture:
HAES dietitians reject traditional dieting approaches and diet culture, which often focus on restrictive eating and weight loss. Instead, they promote intuitive eating, emphasizing listening to the body’s signals of hunger and fullness without rigid dieting rules.

Promoting Sustainable Behavior Change:
HAES emphasizes adopting sustainable health-promoting behaviors, such as regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. The focus is on building a healthy lifestyle that individuals can maintain long-term.

Cultural Competence and Inclusivity:
HAES recognizes and respects diverse cultural perspectives on health and body image. It encourages culturally competent and inclusive practices to ensure that health recommendations are sensitive to various backgrounds and experiences.

Challenging Weight Stigma:
HAES dietitians actively challenge weight stigma and discrimination. They advocate for creating supportive environments that promote well-being for individuals of all sizes, free from judgment based on weight or appearance.

In summary, a Health at Every Size dietitian like Christina embraces a holistic and inclusive approach to health that prioritizes well-being over weight. Her goal is to support individuals in cultivating a positive relationship with their bodies and adopting health-promoting behaviors that contribute to overall wellness.

Learn More about Christina Negrete

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