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“I read the books and attended the classes. Yet nothing prepared me for the challenges of postpartum. So often people ask, “what do you need?” I didn’t know. I shrugged unsure. Anna Barlage, a mother, a therapist, a true guardian and helper didn’t have to ask- she knew. She helped me navigating the world of breastfeeding, nursing logistics, donor milk and postpartum anxiety, and honestly- was just an incredible shoulder to cry on. She was the best advocate I had postpartum and I am not exaggerating when I say I don’t know where me and my son would be without her.”
— Strong Mama

Many people have never met with a therapist before and have some pretty funny ideas about what it will be like. If that’s you, hopefully this will help:

Question: Do I need to lay on a couch?

Answer: Nope. Well I guess you can lay on the couch if you want, but you get to sit in whatever way makes you comfortable. You can even take off your shoes and have a cup of tea if you want!

Question: What will we talk about? Will I just answer questions the whole time?

Answer: Our first session will feel a lot like a conversation, except most of the time we will talk about you, not as much about me. We will start by reviewing my commitment to your privacy, scheduling, payment options and any questions you may have. Then we will get down to business. I'll ask you to share what bring you to therapy, what you're experiencing, ask clarifying questions and find out a bit about how you came to be who you are.

Then we will begin making plans for how to move you toward your goals. I'll summarize what I learned about you from our session to make sure I got it right. And if I didn’t, I want you to correct me and let me know so that you leave feeling understood and hopeful for our work together!

Question: Will you just listen and nod all hour?

Answer: No, I’d rather not as I like to talk too! However, if you do have a lot to say I will do my best to guide your processing and help you pause along the way in order to figure out the best structure for our session to help you meet your goals.

Question: I’m worried what people will think if they knew I saw a therapist. Will you tell anyone what I say or that you know me?

Answer: Stigma is a unfortunate reality in our world. Although I think its great you’re talking about how you are really feeling, rest assure our work together is confidential. I can’t discuss that I know you or share identifying information with anyone with a few exceptions. Those come down to safety, a court order or your permission to talk with someone about your care.

Question: How long is this going to take?

Answer: Well that depends on what your goals are and how much work you put in outside of our sessions. Therapy looks different for everyone, but in general we can get a pretty good idea if we are a good fit and if things are changing within 3-4 sessions. Some people prefer to meet with a therapist on a regular basis for years as part of their ongoing self care, others its a short term, goal oriented process. I can do what works for you.