How much does therapy cost?

People often ask how much does therapy cost, and some evey ask how much is it worth?

So, how much does it cost? How much is it worth?

These are two simple questions; however they do not have simple answers.

What something costs is about the time, energy and often money we associate with the desired object.  What it is worth can mean a myriad of things.

I think of cars as a great topic to discuss cost.  You can look up “cost to own” on the internet. Someone asked if a hybrid costs less to operate than a regular auto.  The answer is often that the “cost to own” a hybrid is more in terms of money.  The cost question is answered from the point of view as to the money it takes over time to own a hybrid.  The further answer has to do with the cost of the emissions to our environment.  So what is it worth to get a hybrid?  For the person who is concerned about his/ her carbon footprint, it is worth whatever the cost.

So we are not talking about cars here.  The thing I want to talk about is the cost and worth of therapy.  The cost may seem high if you look only at the dollar amount.  If, however, you look at what counseling is worth you may have a criteria that is very different.

What does it cost? For some therapists or psychiatrists it may be very expensive and for others not so costly if you have insurance to cover your cost.  No matter what, it will not be free.  The cost will include your time and more importantly, your investment of emotional energy.  You may have to change some patterned behaviors and even apologize.  These are cost factors in the therapeutic setting.

The worth of the outlay can be that you get your life back. You may get your marriage back.  You may get your family back.  You may get your child back.

The concept of cost seems to wane when we consider that the rest of your life may come from sessions with a therapist.

We buy the kid a car, the wife a ring, the husband a new set of golf clubs. We buy an expensive dinner, a vacation, a boat. We spend money to increase the value of our lives all the time. We put value on these things that we deem worth it. The cost is absorbed in the equation of what we are willing to pay for something we consider worth it.

What is the cost of happiness and what is it worth?  Just think about the joy you are putting off because of a potential misunderstanding about cost and worth of therapy

Call me for an appointment; it will be worth it!


School starts and Anxiety Rises

This week and in the next few weeks high school will begin again. Summer will fade into Fall and games, cheerleading and dances will be the fare for many teens. Doesn’t that sound great? For some kids that is what it is, but for many kids there is way too much drama and anxiety associated with school to earn it a “great” label.

Surely there must be ways to lessen the difficulty so many teens experience in the social setting of their high school. Let me suggest some coping skills that have proven helpful to teens I’ve worked with:

  1. Get involved: Sports, theater, student government, band, academic debate clubs, and service groups, choir etc. These groups help you belong and have a feeling of value.
  2. Plan your day: Figure out how to be with friends. Lunch, and other unstructured times of the day can be difficult and unnerving if you do not find support.
  3. Reach out: One of the tricks to being comfortable is to make someone else feel more accepted and included.
  4. “Fake It Till You Make It”: A little known fact, to teens, is that many adults suffer from some form of social anxiety and have learned to cope with faking techniques. Most of us are trying on various ways to be part of the group at whatever level we want to belong.
  5. Practice Makes Better: Give yourself a break and realize that each day holds a new possibility to practice getting through discomfort and social anxiety.
  6. Talk to someone: Share your feelings with a trusted person and/ or someone who appears to be able to handle the “drama” well. You are not alone.
  7. Above all else: Love who you are and trust yourself.


Be gentle with your kids and be aware that they are often in a situation that needs your wisdom and guidance. We all went through high school and yet teens today are in a different time and circumstance than we were. I think kids need the support of adults more than ever but that is probably not easy for them to admit to or even recognize. We too are often facing some of the doubts we went through in our teen years but we can draw on years of experience and courage for the kids in search of our input.

Please know that counseling can help your family and or teen who is struggling with anxiety and other issues.

Call: 682-465-1225 and talk to Katharine O’Connor

Dealing with Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is so subtle and so blatant at the same time that it is confusing and baffling to those who are its targets. What is the seduction of emotional abuse? How can anyone be treated so badly and still stay in a relationship that is replete with this type of treatment?

Emotional-abuseA few thoughts come to mind:

There is a pattern that we accept as normal when we have grown up with sarcasm and repeated “put downs”. We just think that this is the way it is supposed” to be.

Many children have seen their parent used as a whipping “boy”….”girl”….”post” and have taken this behavior to be the way  of romance and intimacy.

An additional twist on the “romance” side of abuse is that the abusing parent only speaks or deals with the one he/she abuses the most.  The silence of the abusing parent and the seeming attachment to the victim sets up another ambivalent atmosphere in the family about the significance of the verbal mistreatment of the abuser.

The victim is often deeply afraid of the abuser.  She/he is so intimidated that she/he will do anything to avoid confrontation in both private and public settings.

The victim will do anything to keep the veiled threats of escalation from becoming real. Abandonment, physical violence, public humiliation, and divorce seem to be avoidable if the abused person doesn’t aggravate the person who is abusing them.

To the observer, it seems hard to believe that the one being abused can’t just walk away.  The problem is that the abused is often “trauma bound” to the abuser.  Somehow the pattern is either acceptable or something the abused just got used to as the relationship continued.

An additional nuance that the abused will articulate is that the abuser isn’t always “that” way.  The victim often becomes the protector of the abuser when someone points out the unacceptable behavior to the abused.

There are many questions to consider in breaking the hold of someone who is an Emotional Abuser:

  • Who will support the person who decides to confront the abuser?
  • How will the abuser react?
  • Is it possible for the abuser to learn another way of acting?
  • Is the abuser willing to seriously address his/her behavior and put in the time it takes to learn to act differently?

The family may need to come in for sessions that help look at the damage being done by the abuser and whatever the family system is doing to enable the abuser to continue acting  the way he/she does.

The fact is that no one can act completely alone in a cycle of abuse.  The Karpman Triagle shows us that  if we are in a “conditional OKness” then we are either being a Victim,  Persecutor, or Rescuer.  

There is no need for the perpetuation of the cycle of abuse

Are you in a family or relationship that is typified by the elements of Emotional Abuse?

There is help for you and or your family. Call for an appointment so that the abuse can be brought to an end. 

Cinderella vs. Elsa – Child Ego State

How envy, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy come straight from the Child Ego state.

Could you imagine Cinderella and Elsa in a tug of war?

Think of it…dresses flying …shoes in the air and some cross between pumpkins, mice and frozen everything. Who do you think is the more beautiful…Cinderella or Elsa? They are both a type of victim that evoke pity and a general “this is just sad” reaction. They also have had plenty of press in terms of their stories. Cinderella is the story that is the older and Elsa, or Frozen, is the newer story, waiting to be replaced in the near future by some other Disney creation.   From an adult point of view these two young beauties are in a series of young girl triumphs with the help of some male hero story lines.

So let’s go into the world of a child and see if there are insights for us when looking at these two popular figures.

I recently went to a party for which I bought the 5 year old, at her mother’s direction, a Cinderella dress. The child was delighted. I really saw a joy that I had not seen in a while. She danced with abandon in the living room and held her hand at the hem of the dress with ballerina poise. So we were all thrilled that the present was so well received and the party went on to a festive finish.  

child_egoA couple of days later I was with this same 5 year old at her friend’s house for a play date. The children dressed in their Cinderella and Elsa dresses and a variety of other formals/ballerina dresses. At some point the girls exchanged dresses and then the drama began. My “Cinderella” became a jealous, envious, screaming, and crying “out of control” 5 year old. She was breathlessly, red faced and crying because the other little girl and her sister had more dresses, one was an Elsa dress, than she did and it was not FAIR! No amount of consoling and reasoning could change her demeanor. Her mother, who is a therapist, took her in her arms and tenderly explained that her Cinderella dress was still beautiful and that her friends’ dresses were also wonderful and not better than her dress. So the conversation went in circles and finally a cool wash rag and an ending to the play date calmed my Cinderella down. I know that the conversation went on the next couple of days with examples and lessons and that finally the subject waned from Cinderella’s feelings.

How does this apply to us?

Who are we in the matter of Cinderella and Elsa and other dresses of beauty? Is the dress we have good enough? Is the dress another has better? Who are we in the matter of our own self value? Of course it seems so clear that this is an analogy but doesn’t this little story hit at the struggles we have to feel ok about who we are, what we do and what we have?

So envy, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy come straight from the Child Ego state and into the heart of our being without much warning and without our ability to respond.

It is with counseling and some hard work that we can nurture the child within and come to a greater understanding and appreciation for the sometimes mysterious demands of the subconscious.