Here are a few questions that have been asked about counseling here. It is our hope that the “For Prospective Clients” page and The “New Clients document that is part of the new client information available to review prior to our initial consultation will answer most questions.
How often do you want to see people?
The short answer to this is “It varies from person to person.” The National Institutes of Health have studied predictors of psychotherapy success, and concluded that the three biggest indicators of success are:
- Your commitment to seeking change or resolution to your concern.
- Sessions that are attended regularly and without distraction or interruption.
- Your willingness to engage the therapeutic ‘work’ or methodology, this involves being open to things that may be new or unusual for you.
Because my ultimate goal is to come to the point where you have achieved your therapeutic goals, I usually recommend that clients schedule appointments every week so we can get traction with the concern and move more quickly toward change. This may vary with families and relationships, and there may be times that not all members of the system will have one or more sessions separately or in concert with the whole.
There are times where it is prudent to meet more frequently, or additional services such as support groups, group therapy or medical support may be called for. There are also times when appointments every other week are appropriate, this is particularly true if you put effort into change between sessions.
We will discuss the frequency and length of sessions at our initial consultation, and can discuss reducing frequency and/or length of sessions as therapy progresses.
How long will I see you?
So much depends on exactly what situation a you present and how much you want to accomplish at this time. While some people come in for a very particular question or decision (resulting in very brief therapy), others come in determined to shift many longstanding issues (which can mean remaining in therapy for a year or more. The answer to this question depends on you and your goal(s) for therapy.
We commend people who have the courage to seek assistance when they feel their lives are not what they would like them to be. We believe that everyone deserves to have positive relationships with themselves and those around them. To achieve this goal, we will work together to determine what your goals of therapy will be. Depending on the nature of the goals, we may set a specific goal regarding how frequently and for how long the therapy is likely to be for you, or you may decide to continue working until you choose to stop.
As a general policy we strongly recommend that if you do decide to terminate therapy, that you have a final session with your counselor to discuss your goals, progress and needs, and for you to explore any concerns regarding your therapy. This closure to the therapeutic process has been shown to be beneficial to you and as professionals we also benefit from feedback and reasoned progress measurement.
What therapy is best for me?
Choosing the best therapy for you may be a straightforward task, or it may evolve through trial and error. You will need to consider some of the following points:
- Are dealing with a specific problem or crisis? Solution Focused Therapy may be the place to start. When the crisis is over, you will be in a better place to decide whether to continue psychotherapy, and in which direction.
- Are you suffering from emotional disregulation or negative feelings? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be where we begin.
- Couples may wish to pursue a specific course or method such as Gottmn Method Couples therapy.
Ultimately the course of therapy will be different for each person, even two who have the same presenting concern, because your mind and your needs are special and unique. It is your therapist’s task to work with you to find what techniques we can use to return you to a place of ease.
Thoughts about diagnoses and pathology?
While mental health counselors are all trained in mental health diagnoses (Psychopathology), we believe these classifications have over time become less a tool for identifying need and guiding practices, and instead are used to categorize, prioritize and label clients in an unnecessary way. The use of diagnosis and the requirement that a pathology of a mental disorder must be present for care to be acceptable in a managed care or insurance environment has contributed to the stigmatization of true mental illness, and those who seek professional help in a preventative fashion.
Everyone needs help sometimes. Facing relationship problems, emotional pain, the stress of life’s changes or overcoming addiction can be frightening and confusing. My counseling services are non-judgmental, individually tailored and centered on your strengths and your needs, not on the perception of sickness or failings. There are times when diagnosis is required or appropriate, in these times I welcome you to seek a secondary opinion, if you do not agree.
Although there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate that organic mental conditions and intrapsychic disease do exist, I reject the current paradigm that has been fostered in the name of cost savings that says as a therapist I must quickly assign a diagnosis (usually within the first session) and use that to determine how much help you are entitled to. You deserve, and in a better world would be entitled to whatever help is necessary to reach your full potential, realize your authentic self, and no one should decide how much help you need other then you!