Individual Therapy

December 3, 2009

The clinicians at Hoover and Associates offer individual therapy as one of their treatment options.  If you would like to start in individual therapy, just call 708-429-6999, extension 229.  Our screening clinician can recommend which of our ten therapists would be best qualified for your particular issues.  Feel free to call if you have any questions as well.

What is individual therapy?

Individual therapy is probably the most common type of therapy, in which one individual meets with a therapist on a regular basis to discuss that individual’s issues.

The therapist helps the patient to feel better, to change bad habits, to understand themselves and others, to cope more effectively, to make difficult decisions, to improve their relationships, and to set and work toward goals, etc.   Each patient is unique, and therefore each patient’s therapy experience will be unique.

What to expect when starting therapy:

Therapy usually starts with an intake evaluation, lasting one to three sessions.  The therapist will ask you questions about your stressors, current and past symptoms, coping methods, relationships, lifestyle, and medical history, in order to clarify your strengths, concerns, and various factors that may be affecting you.

Once the issues are clear, then the you and the therapist will develop a treatment plan.  You will set specific goals to work toward, decide how often you want to meet (most people start out weekly), and for how long.  This is a collaborative process, as is all of therapy.  The therapist and the patient work together, rather than the therapist doing something “to” the patient.

Once the treatment plan in in place, then the meetings will focus on your  efforts to achieve your goals, to cope with week to week stressors and events, and to improve your life-satisfaction.  As therapy continues, it is helpful for the therapist to know when something was particularly helpful or not helpful.  Your feedback will helps to guide therapy in a productive and positive direction.

At the previously agreed upon time, you and therapist will review your progress on the treatment plan.  You can then decide whether to continue, how often, for how long, and whether you want to make any changes in your goals or approach to therapy.

“What if I decide I don’t like it after all?”

If for any reason you are not satisfied with the therapy you are receiving, the first step is to let your therapist know.  Often, by working together and communicating openly, you can resolve whatever wasn’t working, and you can get a lot more out of the therapy experience.

If you feel that you and your therapist just don’t click, then you can ask for a referral to another therapist.  Although it can feel a little awkward to ask for a referral, this is absolutely appropriate and okay to do.  The most important thing is that you get the services you need from a therapist you feel comfortable with.  And remember, therapy is voluntary, so you can decide to stop at any time.

Wrapping up individual therapy:

Once you feel that you’ve made enough progress, then you have several options for wrapping up therapy.  It is customary to do at least one closing session when you decide to stop therapy.  During this session you can review your progress, and discuss how you can continue working on your issues outside of therapy.

Some people like to stop gradually, by meeting less and less frequently until they are ready to stop altogether.  Others like to schedule a follow up appointment for one month down the road, so that they can check in and makes sure they’re ready to stop.  And , of course, you can just stop.

Sometimes, if something stressful comes up later on, a patient may call up their therapist whom they used to see, and schedule a booster session, or a short series of sessions.  This can help them to remember the skills and strategies they learned in therapy, and can give them a little extra support through a stressful situation.


Again, please don’t hesitate to call if you have questions about therapy.  There is no obligation, and we’re happy to help answer your questions.  You can reach us at 708-429-6999.  The screening specialist is at extension 229.

Hoover & Associates’ team of licensed psychologists, counselors, and social workers is here to offer you help and guidance. We’ve been providing mental health services in the southwest suburbs of Chicago since 1985. We’re conveniently located at 16325 S. Harlem Ave., Suite 200 (2nd floor), Tinley Park, IL, 60477. Our offices are conveniently located near Orland Park, Orland Hills, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Matteson, Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Homewood, Hazel Crest, Markham, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Crestwood, Palos Heights, Palos Park, and Palos Hills. Call to make an appointment: 708-429-6999.