Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Dr. Arnold Freedman, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist – Pittsburgh – Wilkinsburg, PA

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do people seek therapy?
In my experience people are now more willing to seek therapy than in past years because efforts to destigmatize it have paid off so people don’t have the degree of embarrassment they once had. Nonetheless most have to reach a significant level of mental pain to seek help. Some of my patients seek my help entirely of their own volition. Others enter because of the urging of a family member, employer, or some other person who has influence in the person’s life Basically the person is confronted with a problem such as a phobia and they have decided that they now want help to deal with the problem.

What can I expect in a therapy session?
In your initial session, it is important that I take an adequate history to elicit a comprehensive understanding of the problems that brought you to see me. You may not be aware, at least initially, of the significance of things that you have experienced that can be contributing to your present problems. You may be harboring long held beliefs and fears which need to be expressed and dealt with. These may not come out in the first session but my aim is to create a climate of discovery where it is safe to look inward, encounter your distressed feelings, share them when and if you become comfortable to do so, and thus grow. Although many people come to me for hypnosis I seldom introduce it in a first session. I must get to know you first. Note: Since I may administer some paper and pencil tests for assessment purposes, please bring glasses if you need them to read.In subsequent sessions I use hypnotic techniques after dealing with misconceptions. I always teach self hypnosis. It is essential that you practice self hypnosis and other skills regularly so that you can develop the confidence you need to handle the problems you bring to me. My aim is always to foster collaboration because I believe that is the best way to come to understand the nature of your problems and how to resolve them.

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
My aim is to help you reduce your stress and all the attending problems so that you can clear up what has usually been a painful muddle for you. You can thereby often gain a new perspective on your life situation and relationships… Most patients I have don’t really understand that they can learn TO CHOOSE, which is a major accomplishment for them.

What if I don’t know my goals for therapy?
That usually is part of the therapeutic process. That is, a patient comes in with announced distress. Reducing that distress involves establishing goals, both short and long term. that are consistent with the patient’s needs and values

How many sessions are required to treat my problem?
I am asked that question a great deal of the time by new patients. That is especially true with hypnosis because they have the belief that they will be “hypnotized” and “fixed” quickly. Besides the fact that is not my view of hypnosis, the thing I stress is that my treatment involves learning new skills and behaviors. Everyone learns at their own pace. I aim for it to be as efficient as possible but I can’t predict in advance haw quickly a given patient will learn and integrate the necessary skills. Some can achieve what they need in just a few sessions. Others, because of the nature and complexity of their problems, will take considerably more time.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
I accept the majority of commercial insurance and am a Medicare provider. There usually is a co pay which I can determine from your insurance carrier when I obtain your insurance information-Name, ID number date of birth, etc. I do not accept Medical Assistance for patients living in Allegheny County. I am however on the insurance panel for medical assistance for counties surrounding Allegheny.

Is therapy confidential?
What you tell me in therapy is confidential and I will release nothing about you without your signed consent. The only possible exception might be if what you convey indicates that you may harm someone else. That raises the issue of my Duty to Warn which I will discuss with you and may require my action. Fortunately, in my many years of practice that has almost never been a problem with my patients…