WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER SEEKING COUNSELING?
If you are stuck, struggling, or overwhelmed with any area of your life or dealing with emotions such as, anxiety, sadness, anger, depression, frustration or confusion, seeking counseling can offer a path forward. Perhaps you are struggling in your relationships or communication with your partner, family, children, parents, friends or co-workers is a challenge. Maybe a traumatic experience has happened to you, past or present, and there is a need for healing. Perhaps you want to be pro-active in looking for preventative measures by seeking help with an issue before it gets too complex and more difficult to manage. Or maybe you are simply seeking self-improvement, want personal growth, increased happiness, or ways to further enrich your life. Counseling can be a helpful, effective and confidential resource to help you experience greater peace, joy, power and freedom in your life.
HOW CAN COUNSELING HELP ME?
When a counseling relationship is working well, clients experience new insights into their situations, clearer thinking, increased energy, better understanding of their feelings and needs, release of troubling emotions that have held them back or been confusing, and a greater sense of wholeness and peace within themselves. Therapy is a process, and a working partnership develops between client and therapist. Therapy is not always comfortable or straightforward as difficult emotions and ways of being often have to be sorted through in order for new energy and change to appear. Clients should feel comfortable with their therapist and be able to ask about whatever is on their mind regarding the process. In spite of the uncomfortable emotions experienced, clients I have worked with feel that the temporary pain of the working through process is well worth leaving behind the continual pain of living the way they had previously.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A FIRST COUNSELING SESSION?
The first counseling session is important for determining several things. You can expect the therapist to go over paperwork, policies and confidentiality laws. You can expect to talk about the concern(s) that brought you into counseling and also about your background and personal history. You and your counselor will take time to get to know each other (e.g., sharing background and beginning to defining your goals). It is a good opportunity for your counselor to acquaint you with, and for you to ask questions about, the counseling process. It’s not at all unusual for clients to feel a little nervous coming to the first appointment, but by the end of the session you should feel much more comfortable. It is important that you and your counselor assess whether she/he is the appropriate person to work with you, and that you believe you can work well together.
WHAT IS COUNSELING LIKE?
Every counseling session is unique to each individual and their specific goals. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing maintenance, as needed. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book, listening to a relevant podcast or journaling. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking counseling must be willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
IS COUNSELING CONFIDENTIAL?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and counselor. No information is disclosed without prior specific written consent from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule.
- Exceptions include the following:
Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
If you ever have questions or concerns about confidentiality, please be sure to ask your counselor. Please refer to the “Disclosure Statement/HIPPA Form” under the Getting Started Tab-Client Forms link for additional details.
We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Feel free to email or call us. We look forward to working with you!