Q: Is therapy right for me? We all know that we can go to the doctor when we are sick or physically hurt. But what do we do when we are suffering emotionally, mentally, or relationally? Who do we turn to for help then? Most people can benefit from counseling at one point or another in their lives. If you are feeling down, depressed, distant, or anxious, counseling can help.
If you are struggling to connect with your spouse or have recently learned of your spouse's affair, counseling can help. If you are dealing with trauma, loss, or grief, counseling can help. If you are dealing with an addiction, counseling can help. That being said, I am not a perfect therapist, nor am I perfect for every client. It's important that you have in mind the type counselor that you might benefit from so you know what your expectations are going in. It's also important that you communicate those expectations with your therapist! My heart is to listen to your story, connect some dots, and help you navigate a path towards healing and hope if that is what you desire.
Q: How does couples counseling work? Couples counseling works similarly to individual counseling except that you come with your spouse or partner for your sessions. We might talk about ways to be better communicators, how to manage conflict, how to have better emotional and physical intimacy, or how to deal with past hurts and betrayals. We will also look at your family of origin to find out things that you learned in your family growing up that may negatively affect your current relationships. I use the Gottman Method for couples counseling which you can learn more about here. After a few couples sessions, I find that it's sometimes helpful to meet with each spouse/partner individually.
Q: What are the benefits of counseling? Therapy can be a great tool for many reasons. Depending on why you are seeking counseling, you may experience the following benefits:
- Better listening and communication tools to use with your spouse/partner - More effective ways to manage conflict with important people in your life - Increased sense of self-worth - New ways of coping with the symptoms of anxiety and depression - Uncovering and healing emotional wounds and traumas - Finding "safe people" around you to support you through a difficult time - The ability to set boundaries with "unsafe people" - Being able to start or continue the process of grieving a major loss in your life - Learning about the recovery process from drugs/alcohol/other addictions and setting up a structure of support so that you can be successful in your recovery - Becoming a better parent
Q: Is counseling confidential? Yes. In general, what you share verbally along with your medical files are kept confidential. However, if anything is shared that makes your therapist suspect that you are harming yourself or someone else, or someone else is harming you, then your therapist is obligated by law to share that information with either a parent (if you are a minor), law enforcement or other medical professionals.
If you are a minor between the ages of 14-17, technically your parents have the right to know what is going on in your treatment. However, because it's important for me to build a trusting relationship with you, if there is something that is brought up in a session that I think your parents need to know about, I will have that conversation with you first before it is shared with your parents. Ideally, you are the one who will be sharing that information with your parents, not me as your therapist.
In addition, with the increasing use of texting, email and social media, I can only use emailing and texting as a form of communication for scheduling or cancelling appointments. I cannot respond to electronic communication as it relates to any personal information about your treatment.
Q: Do you prescribe medicine? No. I am not qualified to prescribe medicine. However, I would be happy to refer you to a doctor or psychiatrist who can do this for you.
Q: How long do sessions last? Sessions are fifty to sixty minutes long. Most people do one session a week but some clients with more chronic issues will come two times a week. Many of my clients are in counseling for 8-12 weeks, however some people are in therapy for much longer than that. This is a conversation that you will have with your counselor.
Q: Do you accept insurance? Yes. I currently accept Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and HMO (Magellan), United, Aetna and Beacon. I also accept self-pay clients. You can pay with cash, credit/debit, or check. Payment is due at the time of service. Please call for more information.
Q: What if I can't pay for counseling? We have an option for you to see one of our counselors who are under the supervision of Melanie Johnson. They charge $10-$20 per session depending on your financial situation.