Do you have questions about the counseling process? Below are some of the more common questions we receive about the need for counseling and the counseling process. For further questions your may have, we urge you to contact us for a personal appointment.

People seek counseling for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When a person’s ability to overcome a situation is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Counseling cannot only provide support, but also provide problem-management skills and enhance one’s ability to deal effectively with issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks, among others. People seeking counseling are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.

At times in our lives we may find ourselves in challenging and painful situations, or realize that we continue to repeat self-harming patterns that resist our good intentions and efforts to change. At times we find ourselves stuck in painful relationships where arguments are stuck in endless counter-attacks with no solutions in sight. In such circumstances, individual, marital or family counseling can help you:

  • Understand and explore ways your past experiences may be controlling your present and future.
  • Build greater awareness of your own and loved ones’ feelings, emotions, and needs.
  • Decrease or replace unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, or limiting beliefs with life enriching ones.
During a counseling session you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 45 minutes, but some people request longer counseling sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. Between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed during your previous session. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to “work,” you play a crucial role. You must be an active participant, both in and out of the therapy sessions.
There are a number of benefits available from participating in counseling. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. The therapeutic relationship provides an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance. Counseling can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or it can point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find counseling to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from counseling include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values.
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships.
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy.
  • Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety.
  • Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures.
  • Improving communication skills – learning how to listen to others, and have others listen to you.
  • Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and developing new ones.
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems.
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence.
If you don’t know what your goals are for counseling, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified, but you and the counselor can work together to establish your goals. During the course of counseling your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for counseling will help you get the most out of the experience.
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communication between a client and a counsel. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected abuse of a child dependent adult, or elder abuse. The counselor is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The counselor must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The counselor will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.
Psychotherapy or Counseling may be indicated if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Depressed mood, loss of interest in life or difficulty facing a new day.
  • Constant tension, anxiety, runaway thinking, negative thoughts, or panic.
  • Angry outbursts, followed by shameful feelings and remorse.
  • Re-experiencing of traumatic events of the past.
  • Difficulty coping due to loss of a loved one, betrayal, divorce, life transitions.
  • Unresolved family of origin issues or trauma that impact life in the present.
  • Extreme mood changes that interrupt normal function.
  • Low self-esteem that is not lifted by life success and good relationships.
  • Failed attempts to leave or manage toxic relationships.