Getting Started With Therapy
How To Choose A Therapist
Picking your therapist—whether it is a Frog Point therapist or otherwise—is the most important first step.
Complementarity between a client’s need and the therapist’s offering is essential to a successful therapeutic experience.
So how do you pick the right person?
Sense into what you need from therapy. Do you want a holding environment in which you can spread out, vent, hear yourself think out loud, and receive validation and support? Do you want something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you see things you are avoiding? Do you want something a little more technical and concrete? The answers to these questions can tell you about the sort of theoretical orientation you are looking for in a therapist.
Have consultation sessions with at least two, if not three, therapists to see who you spark with the most. Most clinicians will offer a free phone consultation and some even offer a free in-person consultation. Keep in mind that a good therapist is just as motivated to be a good fit for you just much as you are with them because it means they will be able to do their work more effectively. During those consultation sessions, you might want to ask the following questions:
- What therapeutic theories do you typically work with?
- How do you typically approach treating anxiety/depression/etc.?
- Is there something you would like your clients to know before starting therapy in general, and more specifically, with you?
- How much do you charge and how does payment work?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How long do your clients typically work with you?
- What is your availability/schedule?
When you are interviewing therapists, it is perfectly fine to let them know you are looking around for the best fit. This way, you are not committing to a longer-term treatment right away and you can take some time to decide which person feels right for you.
What To Expect At The Beginning Of Therapy
tYour first session will very likely be a bit different from ongoing therapy sessions. In the first session, your therapist will be focused on gathering information and establishing rapport, which means they might hang back a bit in order to get to know you and your story. The first session involves setting goals, reviewing the limitations of confidentiality, and answering any questions you might have about the therapeutic process.
Even after you schedule your first session, you can think of the first three to four sessions as a “trial period.” Some clinicians operate this way as a matter of principle but do feel empowered to observe the quality of the relationship as well as the unfolding therapeutic process in order to assess whether the fit feels right.
At this point, you have a few options:
- You may choose to continue as is.
- You may need to make slight adjustments to the process but stay with the same clinician (“I would like to shift to focus on [x] more,” or “I would like a little more space to just talk without so many questions.”).
- You might decide that you are just not jiving with the therapist as much as you hoped and want to try someone else.
Terminating with a therapist can feel like a difficult conversation to have, but remember, fit works both ways. Therapists are just as motivated to find a good fit with their clients and their clients are with to match with them. It helps if you’ve preemptively laid the groundwork for this situation by telling your therapist you’d like to only do two or three sessions at first to see how things go.
What To Expect At The End Of Your Therapy
Termination, the technical word for the end of therapy, is a topic that too often goes undiscussed. Most people have complicated relationships with endings. We carry the trauma of bad breakups, parents walking out on families, death, and loss around with us and these traumas often get reenacted in therapy.
It might feel hard to tell your therapist you don’t need them anymore, or therapy is no longer helpful, or perhaps your therapist has said or done something that upset you but you don’t know how to talk about it. Perhaps you feel like you’re getting too attached and need to cut and run before you get hurt, or that you revealed too much and feel too exposed and vulnerable. Perhaps you feel like you’ve achieved your goals and are ready to be on your own for a while.
Ending therapy is as important as starting it.
Termination in therapy can be an opportunity to curate a healthy ending, perhaps for the first time in your life. It is an opportunity to metabolize and clarify the experience you had, the insights you’ve gained, the changes you’ve made, and the things that need ongoing work. A good ending in therapy can help you to maintain the changes you’ve been able to achieve and prepare you for upcoming challenges. If endings in your life have been painful and destructive, an intentional ending in therapy can interrupt unhealthy relational patterns.
Typically, the termination period occurs over two to four sessions. During that time, your therapist slowly helps you make sense of your experience, clarify your progress, prepare for what’s coming in your life, and say goodbye. If you feel like an end to therapy is approaching for whatever reason, the first thing to do is let your therapist know. You can then begin to talk about and plan a healthy termination that honors the experience that two people, client and therapist, shared with one another.
General Questions About Therapy
HOW LONG WILL I BE IN THERAPY?
People have different attitudes and needs around therapy. Treatment lengths can be as short as one session, three months, or three years and increase in length from there. Some people view therapy as a permanent fixture in their life–not because they never “get better,” but because some find great value in having a constant, impartial support figure in their life.
The relationship you develop with your therapist is unique and special. As long as it does not become co-dependent, you may find that you want to maintain that relationship indefinitely. For most clients, a therapist’s goal is to work themselves out of a job, so progress and treatment length is periodically discussed to ensure that clients get the most appropriate care possible.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I MEET WITH MY THERAPIST?
Session frequency has a lot to do with how long your treatment lasts. As a rule of thumb, the more often you come to therapy, the faster things move because intensity increases with frequency. However, there may be financial and energetic constraints on how often a person can see their therapist. Most people start out at one session per week. It is advisable to discuss this with your therapist at the outset of treatment in order to collaborate on a recommendation for session frequency depending on your needs and goals.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF IT IS “WORKING”?
One thing that clients consistently report is that the process of change is much more subtle and takes much longer than expected. Progress depends on many factors, such as client readiness, physical wellness, environmental stressors, frequency of sessions, and client-therapist match.
At the outset of your therapeutic experience, clients and therapists will work collaboratively to establish goals and indicators that goals are being achieved. One question to help define those benchmarks is, “How will we know when you have been able to successfully _________?” FPT therapists make it imperative to check in quarterly about goals and progress so that the process of therapy can grow and change along with you.
Overall, it can be hard to pinpoint whether therapy is “working” or not, but there are indicators of change we can observe. We look for instances when clients respond to old situations in new ways, when they are able to see things from a wider angle and know themselves in a way they didn’t before, and for symptom relief or a general sense of “feeling better.” We also look for improvements in performance at work or school, stronger, more intimate and healthier relationships, greater physical wellness, and achievement of developmental and individual life goals.
About Frog Point Therapy
DOES FPT TAKE INSURANCE?
FPT does not accept insurance. We do help our clients submit for out-of-network provider benefits, which often eases the financial burden of therapy significantly. Most insurers cover 30-60% of out-of-network provider costs once the out-of-network deductible has been met. We are happy to help you get reimbursement set up with your insurance company—just ask during your phone consultation.
HOW DOES FPT HANDLE PAYMENT?
FPT is private pay. We accept payments via cash, check, credit card, and Venmo. Unless otherwise agreed upon with your therapist, we bill on a monthly cycle.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
- Pick a therapist.
- Schedule a consultation. Read more here about what to expect in a consultation call. Schedule a consultation here.
- Schedule your first session.
- Assess fit.
WHAT IF MY NEW THERAPIST JUST DOESN’T FEEL LIKE THE RIGHT FIT?
Sometimes, things just don’t gel. If you feel like your therapist and you just aren’t ‘vibe-ing,’ it is best to bring this up for discussion with him or her. The reason for this is not so you can work out your differences and keep going (although that can be important and transformative in and of itself), but to perhaps illuminate something deeper that is being triggered in your relational dynamic that can lead to insight about your relational style.
If you decide it’s just not the right fit, you should let your therapist know as directly as possible. A good therapist will not be offended and instead will hold that truth with compassion, curiosity, and respect. If you decide it’s not for you, most therapists will offer a few hand-picked referrals for you. Your well-being is always the priority.
WHAT DOES "FROG POINT" MEAN?
In railroad engineering, a frog rail is a v-shaped mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another at a railway junction. The pair of v-shaped rails are called “frog points.” These points can be moved to direct an oncoming train toward a diverging path. Watch a video of how a frog point works here.
The frog point is an analogy for how we at Frog Point Therapy think about our role in the change process: as facilitators and conduits of transformation. We can’t do the work for you, but we do get involved in co-creating a structure within which your growth–in whatever form it takes–is scaffolded and catalyzed by the most modern and integrated knowledge in adult development. Like the frog point facilitates a track change for an oncoming train, we support our client’s forward progress into a new stage of development toward a fuller life.
WHAT DOES FPT DO TO BE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS?
Nearly everyone struggles with mental health difficulties at some point in life, but not everyone has the means to go to therapy and even fewer have the resources to seek private healthcare. As mental health professionals, we believe that no one person’s difficulties are less important than another’s and understand that our economic system stratifies what treatments are available to whom. To make our services more accessible to an inclusive socio-economic market, every Frog Point Therapist reserves seats on their caseload for clients who need the financial barrier to high-quality mental health treatment lowered. A few times every year, we conduct community outreach in the District of Columbia: we go into various communities around the district and perform mental health screenings, connect citizens to affordable mental health treatment in their neighborhoods, offer resources on basic coping skills and psychoeducation on wellness, and just spend time being in human presence with our community in all of its diverse beauty.
The age of exploitative business practices that are centered around profit is on its way out. Mutual sustainability throughout all of our ecosystems (intrapersonal, interpersonal, social, environmental) is the new gold standard and Frog Point seeks to be a leader in private healthcare in this sense as well in the more technical aspects of human development. Deeper integration of the self and deeper integration in community are the new frontier for wellness: healthy self, healthy society. Healthy society, healthy self.
About Training and Supervision
HOW CAN I APPLY TO THE JUNIOR ASSOCIATE TRAINING PROGRAM?
FPT reviews applications to the Junior Associate program on a rolling basis. There are three seats that rotate approximately every year. Please send an email stating your interest in the program directly to Dr. Barimany by clicking here. You will receive an email response to set up an initial phone call to talk about the program and be invited to apply if there is an open position available in the near future.
IN WHAT STATE IS DR. BARIMANY LICENSED?
Dr. Barimany is licensed in the District of Columbia. If you’re engaging clinical supervision services for the purpose of obtaining your license, please check the supervision and residency requirements of the state in which you seek licensure.
WHAT DOES CLINICAL SUPERVISION WITH DR. BARIMANY ENTAIL?
As a clinician, I tend towards formulating cases in a psychodynamic manner and use the interpersonal process to deliver interventions. My work is deeply infused with eastern wisdom (meditation and contemplative practice). These are technical skills and training I can offer from my expertise, however, I encourage you to bring your theoretical preferences, at whichever stage of development they may be, into our work together. As a supervisor, alongside helping you care responsibly for your clients, my goal is to encourage your development as a clinician. I appreciate collaboration and as you will learn from me, I hope to learn from and with you.
A 50-minute individual supervision session will consistently occur on the day and time of our choosing. Supervision is structured by an agenda that we negotiate at the outset of our time together, case presentations and consultations, and review of recordings. It is an ethical and professional obligation to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics and I welcome you to ask for guidance if you are uncertain about anything pertaining to either at any time.
As helping professionals, it is an ethical obligation to make sure that we are emotionally and physically healthy in order to serve our clients well. At times, personal issues will bleed into the work we do as counselors. When appropriate, these issues can be processed in supervision. However, there are clear boundaries between supervision and personal therapy and some things that come up in supervision need the space and attention of individual therapy. In either case, I encourage all clinicians to be in their own therapy no matter how expert and seasoned they may be. I am happy to help supervisees and mentees find a mental health professional that meets their financial, emotional, and practical needs.
Frog Point Therapy
Dr. Barimany thinks about the big picture and asks pointed questions, which get me to really reflect on the ways I behave in certain situations that are difficult for me. It’s helped me make a lot of improvements and allowed me to strengthen relationships with my family. Sometimes it’s hard, but the process has really helped me. I’m in a much better place having worked with her.
Working with Dr. Barimany has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. With patience, humor, and grace she has helped me realize patterns of thought and behavior that were no longer serving me. All the while, Dr. Barimany has shared mindful skills and encouraged awareness of my inner state. With practice, I have used the skills she¹s taught to deal with novel situations and developed a richer understanding of the world inside my head. Years later, Dr. Barimany still helps me make subtle shifts in my perspective that provide insight and ease. I could not be more grateful to have found her!
Dr. Barimany is a great therapist. She is empathetic, understanding, and really grounding. She helped me understand myself and my relationships better. I definitely got a lot out of therapy. Plus, the location and office are very convenient. I would highly recommend her if you’re looking for a therapist.
Frog Point Therapy
3 Washington Circle NW, Suite 204
Washington, DC 20036