Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I even need therapy?
You might be struggling with symptoms that impact your daily functioning. For example, you might feel chronically tense, have racing thoughts, or feel like you’re always on high alert, waiting for the other shoe to drop. You may have difficulty doing the things you want to do, and what used to feel enjoyable is now inaccessible. Your relationships might be full of conflict – or, they might look great from the outside, but inside, it feels like something is missing.
Maybe that doesn’t describe you, though. You’re managing your life and feel like everything is fine – at least on paper. If you’re reading this website and wondering if you need therapy, I invite you to consider the possibility that you found this page for a reason. Sometimes we know what we need before we know the why.
What is Story-Informed Trauma Therapy?
Story-Informed Trauma Therapy (SITT) was developed by Byron Kehler, MS. It is a directive, structured way of approaching trauma recovery. We all have stories that we carry with us and inform the choices we make, how we function in relationships, and the way we respond to stressors. You will be guided through your life story so that you can address and resolve the experiences that hurt you along the way.
We either know, understand, and accept our stories or our stories live us.– Byron Kehler
I feel like I had a good childhood – and I know other people had it way worse. Can Story-Informed Trauma Therapy help me if I didn’t have trauma?
Everyone has a story, and no one gets out of childhood without some hurts along the way. As Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his life.” We all have suffering, and comparing who had it worse doesn’t take away the fact that you have experienced difficult things. We often minimize what happened to us in order to protect ourselves from experiencing that pain. Even if you tell yourself it was “just” a little bullying, frequent moves, a parent who drank a little too much, a divorce, or a childhood illness – those things impact our lives today.
How long does therapy take?
This can depend on many factors, including the challenges you’re facing and the type of therapy you’re engaged in. I work with people who are recovering from the effects of childhood trauma. Generally, this type of work takes time. Clients who pursue Story-Informed Trauma Therapy may be in weekly therapy for 18 months to several years. We will work from a general ‘roadmap’ for trauma recovery, which involves processing your story from birth to the present.
Okay, but I can’t just drop everything and only focus on the past stuff. I have things going on that I need help with right now.
Absolutely – as much as it would be nice for life to slow down so you can focus on healing from the past, that doesn’t always happen. During the course of therapy, you might go through life transitions (for example, a career change, loss of a loved one, health issues, etc.). We will take as much time as we need to tend to what’s happening now. That might look like developing more tools around regulating and understanding your nervous system, working on boundaries, or simply taking time to grieve. How we manage issues in the present often ties to how we adapted to challenging situations in the past. Tending to the “here and now” of your life will generally lead us back into working on your story.
I’ve tried therapy before, but I’m still dealing with the same symptoms.
Therapy often addresses symptoms and reducing their intensity so you can get back to doing your life. You might have worked through pieces of your story either on your own, with a therapist, or in a group setting.
I think of it like a tree. If a tree is producing fruit that is mushy or not reaching its full maturity, we can cut off the fruit and throw it away. We might do this for many seasons, always wondering why the fruit doesn’t taste the way we know it could. Until we step back and look at the whole tree – including the difficult-to-reach roots – we will be addressing the symptoms without ever addressing the cause.
Our hope with working from a story-informed therapy lens is that you will gain understanding about the root causes of your symptoms. When we are able to connect present day reactions with their origins, we have more agency and choice in how we respond to stressors in our lives.
How much does a session cost? How frequent are appointments?
My rate for a 50-minute session is $130 (see here for more information on rates and payments). I see clients weekly. Each client has a spot that is “theirs.” For example, if your spot is Tuesdays at 10am, you will be on my weekly calendar on Tuesdays at 10am. Scheduling this way provides predictability and structure. You don’t have to guess if you’re going to be able to schedule an appointment each week. It makes planning for and setting aside time for therapy simple.
How do I get started?
If you’d like to take the first step to learning about your story, fill out the inquiry form here. I’ll reach out to you to schedule a brief, 15-minute phone consultation so we can get to know each other and discuss scheduling your first appointment.
I look forward to talking with you!