Common Questions

Why choose therapy?

If you’re not absolutely content with your life, it’s important to investigate what obstacles block living the life you wish to lead. Whether you feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or are facing difficult life circumstances, there are many responses you can explore, and no single approach will work for every individual. A medical doctor, an herbalist, and a spiritual guide may each suggest different quite viable approaches, yet emotional distress  and unsupportive relationships is often best approached  by seeing a therapist. Therapy consists of a professional relationship between you and the therapist, in which the therapist serves as  your guide in exploring your feelings, thoughts, relationships, and behaviors, and how they are affecting you. Through the relationship you develop with your therapist, you can learn about your way of being with others, as well as how you treat yourself helping create new types of relationships and communities that work for you.

How is therapy different from talking with a friend?

Every therapeutic relationship is unique, but there are some important differences between friendships and therapist-client relationships. Friendships are based on mutual support with the expectation of reciprocation, whereas you or your couple relationship are the focus of therapy. Therapists are trained to provide a different kind of support than friends who are often expected to “take your side” by agreeing.  Therapists support by helping you see more clearly your role in situations in order to bring about constructive engagement for positive change. Often, there are issues that you may feel you can’t talk about with your present social circle including  sexual issues, painful regrets, or traumatic experiences. Everything you express in therapy is kept in strict confidentiality aside from specific legal exceptions. In therapy, you should be able to express your concerns freely, so that you feel heard and understood non-judgmentally.

Does seeing a therapist mean I’m “crazy”?

Absolutely not! Seeking the help you need to create the life you want is a positive sign of mental health. People come to therapy for a wide variety of concerns. You are likely to benefit if you are experiencing one or more of the following:

  • You are experiencing symptoms such as sadness, depression, loss, anxiety, fear, or panic.
  • You are experiencing conflict in your marriage, in your communication, your family, or your work.
  • You are going through an important life transition, and you want guidance in navigating it well.
  • You’re feeling “stuck,” lost, or unsatisfied in your life, and you want to create more direction and purpose..
  • You want to create a life you truly love, and experience a new sense of empowerment.

What if I’m nervous?

Most people who enter counseling feel nervous about starting, particularly if it’s their first time seeing a counselor. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by our problems and emotions, and it’s hard to know where to begin. You may question whether therapy can truly help, or you may think that you should be able to manage your concerns on your own. Important relationships are often anxiety-producing in the beginning. Feeling nervous about seeing a counselor is a good indicator that there are some concerns you need to confront and changes that are important for you to make. The best way to deal with anxiety is to just say you feel nervous. A key aspect of counseling is learning how to openly communicate your feelings and needs, thereby reducing the anxiety in the moment.

How will I know if it’s working?

Although each therapy experience is unique, some typical patterns emerge. In counseling, we talk openly about how we know what “working” means, whether that involves relief of stress or improved communication, and check in with one another to keep track of the process. Early sessions often involve a lot of exploration and experimentation, finding out what is useful and what is not.

How long will it take?

Some people worry about how long it will take or how many sessions therapy entails. This all depends on the presenting concerns you bring. Usually I like to see clients weekly at first because this is needed to establish a basis from which to work and positive results are in direction relationship to commitment to the process. Some people find they’ve met their needs in just a few sessions, others may utilize therapy for several years to integrate important life changes. I find it important to clarify under what terms therapy will come to a close and visit this topic as needed.

Debra Seido Martin, MA MFT, LPC
Phone: 541-844-4917     Email:
Office: Neighborhood Location Near 11th & Chambers, Eugene, OR