Often people want help but are held back by their fears, shyness or a belief that counseling can't help them. Below are a collection of questions frequently asked as someone is considering beginning a relationship with a counselor.
How do I make an appointment? Do I have to use the Client Portal?
I strive to answer the phone or return calls within the hour. I know your time is valuable and waiting for a return call is something I work to avoid. Therefore I offer clients access to an online portal. Here you may make appointments or reschedule your session from available times and days. You may also choose to use email or Texts to make appointments. We also offer a variety of payment options for services.
What can I expect in the first session when I see a therapist?
I understand that therapy may be a new experience and add to your anxiety. I want to make the experience very comfortable for you. I am here to answer all of your questions. Your first session will focus on painting a picture of your life and the problems you are struggling with. We will identify some goals that you want to achieve and discuss if continuing working with me is something you are comfortable with doing or if a referral to a different situation would be more appropriate. The number and frequency of any future sessions is your decision.
How long will I be in therapy?
Every problem, every person and every professional relationship is unique. You will know if this is something that works for you, that you find helpful and if it is right for you to continue. Many people enter therapy for an immediate problem and have sessions frequently over a brief period of time. Some continue on a less frequent basis as a maintenance program to head off small issues before these become life disrupters. Others leave therapy but may return when daily struggles accumulate and the smallest thing becomes a trigger of an emotional meltdown.
I am a Christian. Is it possible to include my faith as part of my counseling process?
Absolutely! I am a Christian and am comfortable and respectful of your beliefs. I recognize that a personal relationship with God is part of many people's coping strategies. It is only natural to include your faith in the counseling process as it is a part of who you are. Other clients may prefer to focus on their issues in a purely secular way. The decision to incorporate your faith is completely up to you and is always a respected part of the therapeutic relationship.
How do I know which counselor is right for me? Does it matter?
I believe that it is critical to be comfortable with the counselor and the counseling relationship. This includes feeling a sense of connection as we collaborate together. My role is that of a consultant, educator, listener, explorer and guide to help you find a path to better quality of life. The client will have the unconditional support and positive relationship as they work together to address the problems. Clients can rest assured that they will be in a safe environment where they can reveal all of the emotions and experiences that created their struggle and begin to learn, heal and grow. Help should not only improve the immediate problem but also educate the client so that they are better able to manage their lives, road blocks and issues going forward as an independent person.
Do I really need counseling? I can usually handle my problems.
I believe everyone can benefit from having a safe place to give voice to the problems of life. You are the expert when it comes to you. You can find your own solutions and work your way out of problems. However, it is common for people to develop a type of tunnel vision that narrows their focus and limits their view of the problem. A counselor is a trusted independent person who can help you broaden your view, identify the root causes of problems, educate you about strategies that are helpful in overcoming problems and prepare you to resolve your struggles both now and in the future. These new skills will help clients not only with accurate self reflection, but also encourages self reliance and self confidence going forward in your life.
What are coping skills or strategies?
Coping skills are activities that the client has discussed and learned in session as a way to self manage challenging situations that may occur outside of sessions. Typically coping skills are things that reduce negative emotions that arise when triggered by the situation that is the focus of the counseling sessions. For example, a coping strategy for becoming upset may be taking a walk or listening to music. The activity gets the client's focus off of the distressing event or removes them from that setting and allows them to restore themselves to a calmer state.