Are there any differences between the terms counseling, therapy, and psychotherapy?
Counseling, therapy, and psychotherapy all involve talk therapy either in an individual, family, or group setting. These terms are basically used interchangeable, however, psychotherapy may indicate a more long term approach to therapy where counseling is more focused and shorter term.
Can't I just talk to someone I know who's a good listener and get the same help that I would from a counselor?
Counseling takes place in the context of a helping relationship in which I, as your counselor, and you, as the client, work together to resolve a problem, change behavior or foster personal growth and awareness. Although you may have a number of helping relationships with friends or family, the counseling relationship is different in a number of ways:
The counseling relationship is not reciprocal. My job is to focus on your concerns and to offer you support and encouragement. This is your time to focus on yourself.
As your counselor, I am a trained professional who has spent several years learning about different ways to help you resolve your particular problem.
The counseling relationship is confidential. Whereas with your friends or family, you might hope that they will respect your privacy, I am ethically bound by confidentiality. Unless you are in immediate danger to yourself or others, report child or elder abuse, or sign a release of information, our conversations will be private.
You can always depend on me to meet you at your set appointment times.
How do I know if I even need counseling?
Counseling is often helpful when the challenge you are facing is interfering with your normal functioning or emotional wellbeing. When the things that normally help aren’t working, it may be time to seek help from someone with a new perspective.
How long does the counseling process take?
There are times when a client may have a very specific question or concern that can be resolved quickly in one or two sessions. Often, however, this is not the case. Something may have been troubling you for months or even for years. In that case, it may take a longer time to build a trusting relationship and to work on your problem. You and I can talk over what your goals for counseling are and how long it will take you to achieve these goals.
Will I fall apart if I start talking
about upsetting thoughts and feelings?
For most people, the answer is no, at least not in terms of a "nervous breakdown" or crying uncontrollably. It is certainly possible that you may cry or feel anxious or upset. But many people feel relief after letting their feelings out during a session.
Is information about counseling private?
All the information discussed in our sessions stays within your personal private file. No information is released without your written consent, unless you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, report child or elder abuse, or sign a written release of information.
What can my counselor do for me? Will my counselor give me advice or solve my problems?
Although I will not and should not tell you what to do, we will work together to help address your problems and concerns. Also, as your counselor, I will be a caring and attentive listener, which many clients find helpful in and of itself. In addition, I can be an advocate for you whenever necessary or appropriate.
What happens during the first session?
When you arrive, please have a seat in the waiting room. When it is time for your appointment, I will come out and introduce myself to you and invite you into my office. We will talk a bit about what you can expect from this process and talk about your goals and expectations of counseling. If things go well, we will decide together how often to meet and schedule future appointments.
How do I keep my other providers up-to-date on my treatment?
As your counselor, I am your advocate. If it’s applicable and if you desire, I can coordinate your care with the other providers on your treatment team (e.g. primary care physician).
What if I don't think that counseling is helping me?
The counseling process often takes time. Therefore, it is not realistic to expect that your problems will be addressed in one or two sessions. Because counseling is a process, it is wise to give it a few weeks before you decide it is not working for you. However, if after a few weeks, you continue to feel that counseling is not helping, or that we have not made a good connection, I encourage you to discuss your concerns with me. Together we can alter what we are doing or you can be referred to another counselor.
What if I have an mental health emergency?
If you feel unsafe and need immediate attention, please call 911 or go to the closest hospital emergency room.
How long is a session?
A standard session is 50 minutes, but sessions can vary based on mutual agreement with your therapist and affordability to pay.
There are limited sliding scale counseling slots available based on financial need. All payments are expected in full at the time of service. While insurance is not accepted at this time, at your request, I can provide a clinical receipt for each paid session to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. If you wish to have your insurance reimburse you, please check your coverage prior to scheduling an appointment.
Canceling or rescheduling an appointment must be done within a 24-hour period before the scheduled appointment. Failure to cancel or reschedule an appointment 24 hours in advance will result in full payment being due.