What is counseling like and how long does it take?
I see counseling as a unique journey that I walk with each client. In the beginning of the journey I usually take at least 3-6 sessions to assess client symptoms, understand the goal of the journey and the obstacles that are presently impeding the journey from being meaningful. It is also important to me that both I and the client feel the partnership between us is a good fit. These initial sessions provide some time for each of us to make that decision. In some cases, I may feel that there is another therapist who has tools that are more specific to your issue. In these cases, I will provide you with an appropriate referral.
After we decide to partner together I typically see clients weekly, at least initially. This provides continuity and momentum for the issues that we are focusing on. Sessions are typically 55 minutes. In terms of the duration of counseling, some people find that as few as 8 sessions may be all that is needed. For others, progress happens over several months. Deep-seated issues may take longer. After 4-6 sessions we can discuss the potential duration of our specific journey together. The good news is that at any time you can suspend counseling and take your growth with you. Therapy can also be restarted at any future date without any significant loss of momentum. People will sometimes see a therapist “as needed". If I believe that you can no longer benefit from further counseling, I will bring up the topic of ending our journey with you.
EMDR sessions are more structured and follow a protocol. These sessions will look much different than traditional Talk Therapy. For more information on EMDR, click here. If you would like more information on what an EMDR session looks like, watch the personal stories video on my EMDR page or ask me.
Are there any problems that are too trivial to seek counseling? One of the things I love about doing therapy is meeting people and seeing how unique and individual they are. People respond differently to events that happen in their lives or to their relationships; an event that may traumatize one person may not impact another and vice versa. The most important question is: How are these events or relationships impacting you? If you are feeling that your joy and meaning in life is being diminished or that you are struggling to cope with the everyday stressors in life then it's likely that counseling can help you regardless of the issue.
What would counseling look like with you as my therapist? My Counseling Services page will give you more detailed information about my approach, training and education.
Is counseling confidential? In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include: If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken. If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person I am required to notify the police. In the case of suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, I may be required to report this to the appropriate authorities depending on the specifics of the situation.
What is EMDR? EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a technique that is very specialized and one I use for multiple issues. Please visit my EMDR and Trauma page for more information.
Why would I want to do group therapy? Group counseling can be very powerful and effective. My Counseling Services page will tell you why you might want to consider it. Is medication a substitute for counseling? In some cases a combination of medication and counseling is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor or psychiatrist, you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.