John C. Knapp, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

Insight-oriented Psychotherapy for the North Shore, Andersonville, and Greater Chicago

FAQ About Psychotherapy

What is the first session like?

The first session will take approximately 60 minutes.  In the initial consultation, we will discuss issues of confidentiality and fees as well as what brings you to therapy.  We will then explore the details surrounding your concerns which may involve some history of your presenting problem such as family history, past traumas, or previous relationships.  In the end, you are welcome to discuss whatever you choose to discuss as I do not follow a specific protocol for initial sessions.  I will discuss only what you are comfortable sharing.  You need only bring a curious mind.


How long does therapy take?

This is a great question, and unfortunately, there is no concrete answer that I can provide.  Each person is very different.  Sometimes, individuals find relief very quickly from their concerns - a matter of a few weeks to a few months.  Other times, individuals can stay in therapy for a number of years, even after having resolved many of their initial concerns.  It really depends upon the unique circumstances of each person's life and personality.


How often do I need to come to therapy?

This depends upon the person, but typically I start out seeing individuals once per week for a 45 or 60 minute session.  I typically suggest 60 minute sessions, especially early on in therapy, because I find that there is normally a lot of ground to cover.  Sometimes, patients will come 2-3 times per week, depending upon their circumstances.  This is not uncommon, especially in the midst of acute crises or for those who are seeking to do "deep analysis."

 

Does psychotherapy involve talking about dreams?

Sometimes, yes.  This also depends upon the person and his/her willingness to discuss them as well as the therapist's knowledge and expertise.  I am trained in a comprehensive, thoughtful, and very down-to-earth perspective regarding exploring one's dream life.  Although this can sound like quite a "hokey" process, it is actually quite helpful in terms of accessing unconscious or repressed emotions as well as opening up possibilities for one's future psychological direction.


If I don't want to talk about something, do I have to?

I will never make you discuss anything that you are uncomfortable or unwilling to discuss.  I will always respect your boundaries and privacy until you are interested in sharing.  Sometimes if one is uncomfortable sharing or discussing a particular issue, however, we will discuss the ways in which you avoid such discussion, for example, the defensive patterns in your personality such as avoidance, withdrawal, addiction, dissociation, or any other kinds of defenses.  This can be very, very helpful in terms of understanding one's methods for coping with tension or anxiety.


Can I ask questions about the therapist?

Yes!  I am more than willing to answer most questions.  However, many times there is a question behind a question - especially in therapy - so many times we will discuss both of these questions: the literal one and the unconscious one.  This is a common theme throughout therapy that you will find - discussion that involves two dimensions of thought, both conscious and unconscious.