Frequently Asked Questions
Making the decision to ask for help takes a great deal of courage. Many people see asking for help as a sign of personal weakness or failure. I don’t think that is true. The decision to pursue the help of a counselor is wise and can lead to important personal and relational growth.
Many people choose the supportive help of a professional counselor to address emotional and mental challenges like depression, anxiety, and fear. Others seek help for struggles against sexual and chemical addictions, anger management, relational/marital concerns. Ultimately, the decision to pursue help is yours and I hope that you will summon the courage seek help and guidance from a competent counselor.
- Better understand your goals and purpose for life.
- Improve your most vital relationships.
- Solve current problems.
- Managing stress and anxiety.
- Change undesirable behaviors.
- Process anger, grief, and loss.
- Reduce depression.
- Grow your communications and listening skills.
- Develop a healthy view of self and boost self-confidence.
The first diagnostic session typically lasts about 50 minutes and includes review and signing important documents required to establish a counseling relationship. The remaining time is spent assessment, getting acquainted, identifying goals and discussing the challenges that are bringing you to counseling. All clients will be asked to complete the Brief Symptom Inventory checklist at the first session.
Additionally, I will ask about important health problems that may contribute to the problem, collect a history of how the problem has been impacting you, and explore ways that you have tried to overcome the problem. The next few sessions will be about developing a good working relationship and will focus on identifying your strengths and competencies for solving the problem(s) impacting you. We will then develop a plan for how to solve, or manage the particular challenges you are facing.
I do not prescribe medicine nor do I offer medical advice. I will, however, work closely with your doctor in providing holistic treatment. Every situation is different and every person is unique.
Many people find that medications are very helpful in managing and overcoming particular challenges. Others prefer working without medication. I respect both perspectives and will work with you and your doctor in finding the best course of action for you. Rarely, is medication alone effective in the long-term treatment of mental and emotional disorders.
People and problems are complex and our struggles usually overlap physical, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions of life. Competent treatment must consider each and every one of those dimensions and at times your doctor will prescribe medication to help alleviate the symptoms.
Confidentiality is a hallmark of the counseling relationship and will be strictly maintained. What you tell me in session will be held in confidence. However there are a few occasion where confidentiality cannot be maintained.
- If I suspect that a child, dependent adult or elder is being neglected or abused.
- If you are threatening others with serious bodily harm.
- If you are threatening to harm yourself.
- If I am court ordered to testify.
Should the need arise that I must break confidentiality; I will discuss it with the client in a timely manner, preferably, but not necessarily, prior to breaking confidence.
There are some risks involved in counseling.
- Sometimes it can be emotionally unsettling to discuss circumstance and/or events that are difficult for you.
- It is also possible that it will become clear that current situations cannot be changed to your satisfaction leading to some difficult decisions to make.
- Changing your beliefs or behavior can also be difficult and scary, and sometimes disruptive to the relationships you have.
- There are no guarantees that counseling will yield intended or expected results.
It is important that you consider carefully whether these risks are worth the benefits to you. Should you chose to begin a counseling relationship with me, I will work hard to reduce the risks by providing opportunity to discuss your fears and discomfort related to counseling and assist you in debriefing and managing any uncomfortable effects of counseling.