Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Therapy

  1. Why should I consider therapy?
  2. Dealing with the trauma of a sexual assault can be a lonely and frightening experience. Over time, you may find yourself trying to understand why the assault occurred in the first place or why it happened to you. Through therapy, you can learn to better understand your thoughts, feelings and reactions. You can also learn to regain a sense of safety and self-esteem that was taken from you as a result of the assault.

    It takes courage to recognize these problems and seek help. Starting therapy is a big step towards recovery, and it will not be an easy or quick process. Healing from the trauma of sexual violence takes time and patience.

  3. How long will I be in therapy?
  4. The time you spend in therapy is based on your needs and will be discussed periodically between you and your therapist. Some people need only a few sessions and others may need more time to fully discuss and deal with all their concerns.

  5. Where are you located?
  6. We are located in downtown Honolulu in the Harbor Court Building, 55 Merchant St., 22nd Floor. Please call 535-7600 for directions.

  7. What are your hours for therapy?
  8. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Limited after-hours appointments are available.

  9. How do I make an appointment for therapy?
  10. Call 535-7600 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to schedule an appointment. We have several intake workers available to speak with you.

  11. What is an intake?
  12. The intake process needs to be completed before therapy can begin. This involves making an appointment to see a therapist, completing some paperwork and meeting with the therapist for one to three sessions. You will be asked to come in half-an-hour early for the initial visit to sign consent forms and complete the registration process.

    After this is done you will meet with your therapist who will get to know more about you. The first one to three sessions are for information gathering to share your experiences, your current situation and what you hope to achieve in therapy. Sometimes, the therapist may determine that SATC services are not right for you. If this is the case, we will refer you to other agencies or providers that can better assist you.

  13. How long does a counseling session take?
  14. Appointments usually last about 50 minutes and are scheduled once a week at the start of therapy, but may taper off depending on your needs and progress.

  15. Whom will I see?
  16. Our staff consists of therapists who are trained in the area of sexual violence, including psychologists and social workers. We also have a psychiatrist who is available once a month for medication consultations. SATC clinicians have specific knowledge and experience in working with sex assault victims. Our intake staff will work with you to select a therapist that may best fit your treatment needs.

  17. How much does therapy cost?
  18. We accept many different medical insurance plans. If you do not have insurance or have an insurance plan for which we are not a participating provider, we will help you find other resources to pay for services. For example, if you report your assault to the police, we can help you apply to the Crime Victim Compensation Commission (CVCC) to ask that they cover the cost of therapy. Another option, if you meet certain financial conditions, is our sliding fee schedule which will reduce your out-of-pocket payments. Even if you have no resources, you can still begin treatment at the SATC as we have public funds to help those who want services but cannot afford it. We will work with you to determine how we can best meet your treatment needs.

  19. What about medication?

    A consulting psychiatrist is available once a month to evaluate and monitor clients' medication. Your SATC therapist can refer you to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, in consultation with the therapist, determines whether medication is therapeutically indicated. While medication can be helpful, it is not a substitute for therapy. Any client who is placed on medication by the SATC psychiatrist must actively participate in therapy at the SATC. If a client needs to be seen more frequently than once a month, referrals can be made to other psychiatrists in the community.

  20. Do you have child care services while I am seeing a therapist?
  21. SATC does not provide child care during your scheduled appointments. Please leave young children at home or bring an adult who can watch your child in our waiting room while you are with your therapist. You may not leave a child unattended in the reception area.

  22. Are services confidential?
  23. Privacy is always a concern for sexual assault victims. All information within the SATC is confidential including the fact that you are receiving services here. Anything you share with your therapist is confidential and we will not release or disclose any information without your consent. The only exceptions to our confidentiality policy are if you pose a threat to yourself or others or a situation involving child or elderly abuse. If your therapy records are subpoenaed by a court of law, we will inform you and work with you and/or your attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action.

  24. What is legal systems advocacy?
  25. Clients have a choice as to whether they wish to pursue legal action if the crime falls within the statute of limitations. For many, the decision is difficult, especially if the perpetrator is a partner, family member or an acquaintance. The emotional turmoil of reporting to the police, meeting with attorneys and going to court can all be intimidating. Legal systems advocacy is provided to inform a victim of the options and to support the victim through the legal process. Should a client decide to pursue legal action, various services can be provided to assist in the coordination of care within the criminal justice system:

    For example, Information can be provided to prepare for what to expect and to understand court proceedings. Such information can reduce anxieties and give a victim a sense of empowerment. Therapists sometimes assist in writing a summary for the court that documents the impact of the sexual assault on the victim and loved ones. In some cases, especially with children, the therapist may go along to criminal court proceedings, if such support is desired by the victim or family.

  26. What is case management?
  27. Case management means coordinating services among various agencies and individuals to help maintain the comprehensive care needed for recovery. It may include collecting information from other professionals, such as a physician, about the client's care to help the therapist respond to client needs for medical assistance, employment, school functioning, social services and the like.

FAQs For Teens

  1. What if I am a teenager who wants to come in for therapy but I don't want my parents to find out?
  2. As a teenager, you are at high risk for a sexual assault, but you are among the least likely to report this. Remember: you are not to blame for the attack. The person who hurt you is responsible for what happened, not you. Since you survived, you chose the right way to handle it. There are people who will believe what you say about what happened to you and who will help you get through the experience. Call the SATC and talk to one of our intake workers about your situation. We will do whatever we can to help you get the help that you need.

  3. How will my parents react?
  4. No one can predict how your parents may react, but it's common for teenagers to be uncertain about whether to tell their parents about an assault. Perhaps you do not wish to cause your parents pain or you may feel ashamed. You may think that if you tell, your parents might blame you for what happened and punish or ground you. Some teenagers are assaulted when they were doing something that their parents did not know about, such as drinking or going to a party.

    If you have any of these concerns, you can call our hotline first. Our staff can suggest how to talk to your parents or, with your permission, can talk to your parents directly.

Other General FAQs

  1. If someone doesn't speak English very well, can that person still come in for therapy?
  2. SATC services are structured to meet the needs of a diverse range of people, including those who do not speak English. Ideally, a person can see someone fluent in the person's native language and we can assist in referring to an appropriate service provider. However, if it is not possible to find such a therapist SATC will use interpreters from the Bilingual Access Line during therapy.

  3. I'm a guy and was sexually assaulted. How can you help me?
  4. Many people think that only women are sexually assaulted. Because of this mistaken belief, male victims often feel very alone and don't want to tell anyone what has happened. The incidence of sexual abuse of males is underreported. Any male (i.e. young or old, straight or gay) may be a sexual assault victim.

    Males often worry how others will respond if they find out and how a sexual assault affects their masculinity. You may feel confused. You may wonder if being sexually assaulted means you are gay or if others will label you as such. You may feel that because you are male you should have been able to protect yourself. That may leave you feeling powerless and out of control.

    Denial is common, especially since there is not much readily available information about male survivors of sexual assault. Many of the feelings males experience following a sexual assault are the same as those of females: guilt, fear, helplessness, etc. It is important to remember that the assault has nothing to do with your present or future sexual orientation. Sexual assault is a crime of violence and power, not of lust or sexuality. Thus it is not true that assaults against men are committed primarily by gay men. As a male, you may need special support to cope with the aftermath of an assault. You can be assured of receiving support and confidentiality from SATC.

  5. I'm an elderly person who was sexually assaulted. Will any of your therapists be able to help me?
  6. One common myth about sexual assault is that its victims are young, attractive women. It is often a shock when people learn about infants and elderly persons who are also victimized. Offenders often seek out the most vulnerable individuals to attack. Since older people, especially women, are believed to be physically weak, fearful, and incompetent, they may be thought of as easy victims.

    For older persons who first learned of sexual matters at a time of less openness about sex, it is likely to be especially embarrassing to discuss a sexual assault. It is believed that sexual assaults of older persons are greatly underreported. The impact of sexual assault may be somewhat different for the elderly person. You may live alone, which can increase feelings of fear and vulnerability. You may have limited mobility and transportation, which can create feelings of isolation. Physical problems may lessen your ability to defend yourself and thus lead to strong fears about future safety. On the other hand, you may have developed considerable emotional strength. As you have endured other life crises, you may have learned the necessary skills and attitudes to cope with and recover from crisis that a younger person has not.

    It is important to remember that all persons will react according to their own unique circumstances and personality. The SATC therapists have the knowledge and experience to support you and your family, focusing on your individual needs, including plans for personal safety.