What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Good question. There is a big difference. The difference is between someone who is subjectively involved in your life, and a professional who has objectivity, training, expert knowledge, and experience. Family and friends have the potential to offer support, yet not in the same method or type.
Professionals can help you approach your situation in a new way:
- Listen without judgment or expectations
- Ensure confidentiality
- Provide helpful perspectives
- Offer genuine support and help
- Listen with no ulterior motives
- Teach new information or skills
What do I have to do during sessions?
In general, you can expect to discuss or learn about the current events happening in your life, history relevant to your issue, and talk about progress (or any new insights gained). Sessions are not all talk, however. Many times therapeutic activities are completed, if you are interested, as related to particular issues at hand. Suggestions may be provided for you to consider incorporating outside of our meetings, to support your progress “ simply as a way to help achieve quicker and more thorough achievement of your satisfaction.
How long will this take?
You are probably very busy, so we will work around your schedule to fit this in while keeping up a regular pace to maintain progress. Depending on your specific needs, counseling and learning can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to address more ingrained patterns. You can choose to schedule initial sessions weekly or bi-weekly and then space them out as you feel improvement.
I’m used to handling stress on my own. Aren’t people who go to counseling sick?
No way! Everyone deserves time to be listened to with unconditional support and without interruption. It is a basic human right to have time to talk about your stressors and receive help figuring these out. Unfortunately, our society has forgotten to teach us that we need time to release stress in the most fundamental human way: speaking or learning about it. Seeking counseling is a strength you have.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
Ideally, the couple would come together. If that is not possible, simply make an appointment individually. The most important step is to make the appointment, as an individual or couple, or there is lessened potential for increased satisfaction. If you are concerned about your relationship, this is normal. Most individuals wonder how healthy their relationship is and if it could be better. Society teaches us to focus on the fun of falling in love but not the tools to make relationships work well in the long-term.
Can I just take medication instead of going to counseling?
Medication alone cannot change the nature of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors or how you view and process past experiences. Medication is best used in conjunction with counseling to address the underlying issues that stimulate the need for medication. A psychiatrist can best determine if you should be prescribed medication.
Instead of just treating the symptom, counseling addresses the cause of distress and behavior patterns preventing where you want to be in life. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
What is the difference between a counselor and a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood or psychiatric disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional talk therapy to assess the nature of the diagnosis, ascertain the most appropriate medication to assign, and recommend referrals, but they primarily prescribe psychiatric medication. Counselors specialize in understanding mental health. They provide counseling and do not prescribe medication.