Many people are reluctant to seek counseling because they aren’t really sure what to expect or how it can help them. In today’s post, we will answer some of the common questions about counseling and hopefully clear up some misconceptions.
First of all, what exactly is Counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process between a mental health professional and a client which is focused on supporting the client, identifying problems, symptoms, struggles and concerns, exploring and processing things that may be keeping the client from making changes, identifying strengths, developing resources and coping skills, and setting and achieving goals.
What happens in a Counseling session?
During your first session, your Counselor should go over their policies and guidelines when it comes to confidentiality, their areas of practice and specialties, and answer any questions you may have about the Counseling process. They will then begin to gather information from you about why you are seeking counsel, any symptoms or problems you are experiencing. They will work with you to create a plan for treatment that includes your goals, expected number of sessions and frequency of sessions.
Subsequent sessions are then focused on building a secure, collaborative and professional relationship, identifying and exploring thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, and experiences that have been positive and helpful as well as those that are leading to problems in your life. The Counselor may help you explore possible solutions to problems and may provide a specific type of therapy to address any history of trauma or more significant symptoms.
What is the difference between counseling and therapy?
These terms are often used interchangeably. Counselors are trained to provide basic counseling services, but may also be trained in many different types of specific therapies such as EMDR, Play Therapy, CBT, etc.
Does it matter what License or Certification my Counselor has?
There are many different types of Counselors including Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists. Licensed Counselors are able to practice on their own without supervision, although they are governed by their state Licensing Board. Provisional Counselors are not fully Licensed and must be under Supervision of a Licensed Counselor until they obtain the experience required for Licensure. Counselors may also be certified in different specialty areas such as EMDR, Substance Abuse, Trauma, Sexual Addictions, etc. When searching for a Counselor, it is a good idea to determine their specialty areas and experience with your particular concerns.
How is counseling any different than talking to a good friend?
The counselor is a mental health professional who is trained to understand a variety of mental health issues. They can assess the severity of your symptoms and determine what level of care is appropriate for you. Counselors also provide a confidential space just for you and shouldn’t talk much about themselves. Because Counselors are not active in your personal life, they can provide an impartial perspective without emotional connections that your friends likely have. In addition, a Counselor should not tell you what to do or give general advice like a friend may do. Instead, his/her role is to help you learn to identify problematic behaviors and make healthy decisions for yourself, by helping you explore potential consequences or outcomes. You may become very fond of your counselor, but it is important to remember that he/she is not your friend. Therapists should maintain healthy boundaries with clients.
How much does Counseling cost?
The cost of counseling largely depends of the experience of the Counselor, the particular area of the country you are in, as well as your personal insurance benefits. If you have mental or behavioral health coverage, it would benefit you to find a Counselor that accepts your insurance, as this can greatly decrease your personal cost. If you do not have insurance coverage, rates of Counseling can range from $50-$150 per session. That may seem like a lot, but remember, Counseling is an investment in yourself. The cost is worth it if you are able to make changes and improve symptoms that will affect the overall quality of your life.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. There is no shame in seeking help and support if you are struggling. Counseling can be a very important step to take in addressing your overall well-being. Please use the form on this page to contact us if you are interested in scheduling a session with one of our Counselors.