What exactly is counseling?
The American Counseling Association has defined counseling as: a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Counseling involves a mental health professional with a Masters or Doctoral level degree, licensed or seeking licensure in this state, working with you in a supportive, accepting, and empowering environment to reach your full potential as a person and to continue on your journey of growth. Counselors are trained in various techniques in creating change and managing psychological and emotional distress, but most important, in creating healing relationships through empathy, acceptance, and authenticity. We often point out to our clients that one of the greatest gifts of counseling is that the client is in the position to receive all of the feedback and support of a trained professional, and the therapist’s undivided attention, without any obligation of providing the same to the therapist.-
Do I really need counseling?
It is our belief that everyone can benefit from counseling at some point in their life. We all face challenging situations and while we are often able to manage these on our own, seeking extra support when you need it is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes great strength to seek out support. Most people who seek counseling demonstrate resilience in their ability to know when they need some extra support and to seek out what they need. It take courage to ask for help and to address the concerns we’d rather not deal with. Counseling means making a commitment to yourself to change the situation. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Is medication a substitute for counseling?
You and your medical professionals are the best person to determine whether or not medication is helpful to you. Research has shown that while medication is beneficial in treating the symptoms that bring clients to our office, the more long-term solution to mental and emotional pain is solved through counseling. Counseling addresses the underlying causes of distress, behavior patterns that block progress, and teaches skills in identifying and managing symptoms effectively. We work hard to coordinate our services with your medical care providers and believe that the best results can be reached with an integrative approach to wellness.
Is counseling confidential?
We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of your treatment. This means that we will not release any information about you or the services you receive to any party without your consent. There are three exceptions by law which require us to release information, with or without your consent:
- We are mandated reports and are required to report any reasonable suspicion of the abuse of neglect of a child, elderly person, or person who is disabled.
- We are required to comply with court orders for records. In the event of a court order, we will make every effort to notify you of the court order and what information is being requested, as well as request that the court allow us to uphold the confidentiality of your records.
- If we have a reason to believe you intend to cause harm to yourself or others, we are obligated by law to take action to protect you or the individual the threat has been made against.
We may request to consult with other care providers you work with from time to time in order to coordinate services. For example, it may be beneficial to coordinate our services with your psychiatrist, primary care physician, or a medical specialist providing you with care. We will never contact these professionals without discussing the benefits of coordinating services with you, what information would be shared, and receiving your written consent to share information.
How can counseling help me?
There are numerous benefits to counseling. Counseling facilitates support, problem solving skills, increased coping skills for concerns such as depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, unresolved trauma, stress management, pain management, and adjusting to chronic pain and illness. In addition, clients often find that counseling is beneficial in managing personal growth, improving interpersonal relationships, developing closer family relationships, and managing daily living. Counseling provides perspective on the current concern and can point you towards a possible solution. Some of the benefits of counseling include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek counseling
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, anxiety, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
How do I know counseling will work?
Just as there is no 100% guarantee that a particular medication and medical intervention will work for you, there is no way to guarantee that counseling will work. However, we do know from research that the majority of clients receive benefits from counseling, and that these benefits are typically lasting. The greatest predictor of counseling success is the amount of effort and investment you put into your work and the type of treatment we provide. We use counseling techniques that are supported by research and determine the course of treatment based on what research indicates is the most appropriate course of treatment for your unique concern. We do our part to give the best possible chance for a successful outcome and hope that you will do your part by investing yourself in the services you receive here.
What can I expect my first session?
During your first session, we will fill out paperwork and consents and discuss in more detail the concerns that brought you in to counseling, any relevant medical or family history, and answer any questions you may have about the counseling process. The first session can take between 60-90 minutes depending on the complexity of what needs to be discussed. We always leave ample time in our schedule to ensure we have enough time to discuss your concerns and recommend you plan enough space in your day to be fully present and not rushed.
How often do I come? How long is a session?
Once we have created a plan for your treatment, we will work together to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Typically sessions are held once a week for 50-60 minutes. At times it may be beneficial to meet more often than that, or to hold longer sessions, particularly while doing processing work with EMDR. As we progress and you begin reaching your goals, it is common to taper off our meetings to bi-weekly and then monthly as we begin the transition to ending services.
How long do I need to be in counseling?
The length of time you continue to receive services depends on many factors. While research shows the most clients receive the maximum benefits of counseling within 10-20 sessions, it is not uncommon for clients with complex trauma and more long term concerns to spend significantly more time in counseling. It is also not uncommon for individuals to revisit previously addressed issues later on as they progress through different developmental stages in life. Within the first few sessions, we will discuss with you our treatment recommendations and together we will develop a goal plan for your counseling that will provide a better estimate of how long services may take to resolve your concerns. We strive to provide fast and lasting results, but counseling is a process that does not happen overnight. The biggest factor in how quickly you reach your goals is the amount of time and energy you invest in your personal growth, both within the counseling room and in your everyday life.
How long until I see results?
Again, this will vary for person to person depending on the concerns that brought them in to counseling and the amount of time and energy they invest in their services. However, it is not uncommon for clients to report feeling better after the first session, sometimes even after making the phone call to begin services. This is likely due to having taken steps towards change and knowing they are doing something to alleviate their pain.
Do you work with children?
Yes, we have several years of experience in counseling children and are skilled in the use of techniques appropriate for working with children of all ages. This includes the use of play therapy, sand tray, art therapy, and the adaptation of EMDR, Hypnosis, and Mindfulness techniques to be used as an effective and age appropriate intervention for working with children. In addition, we enjoy partnering with parents to improve their feelings of efficacy in parenting children, no matter what the concern.
What types of payment do you accept?
You are welcome to pay for your services by cash, money order, check, or using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express card. Payment is due at the time of service.
Do you offer reduced fees?
We believe in providing access to quality mental health care for everyone in the community. We offer a limited number of reduced fee slots based on financial need. When all of these slots are filled, we offer the option to be placed on a waitlist for the next available slot, pay the full fee for services, or will assist you in finding a service provider that is able to meet your needs.
What are your office hours?
We strive to provide a flexible schedule that meets the needs of clients, while maintaining a healthy work life balance for ourselves. Currently, our office hours are:
How quickly can I get an appointment?
Often we will be able to schedule you for your first appointment within 48 business hours.
What if I need to contact you after hours?
You are welcome to leave a voicemail on our confidential answering machine anytime by calling 407-534-0186. Messages on this machine are checked daily and all messages are returned by the next business day.
Who do I contact in an emergency?
We make every effort to return phone calls and check messages in a timely manner. However, we are not available 24/7. If you are experiencing a true emergency, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room, or contact the crisis hotline by dialing 211.