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Frequently Asked Questions

"Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”
― Shannon L. Alder

1. How can counseling  benefit me?


Counseling can provide you with nonjudgmental and empathic support, where your feelings and sense of self-worth are validated. Many times we are our own worst critic and have difficulty seeing an objective viewpoint. With support from a counselor you can gain a better understanding of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how these impact your sense of self-worth. Counseling is a safe space to practice new skills and hone the skills you already embrace. Specific ways counseling can help are:


  • Be heard and validated. 

  • Develop problem solving skills to attain goals.

  • Enhance communication skills to improve personal and professional relationships.

  • Manage strong emotions, such as anger, depression, and anxiety.

  • Change behaviors that are hindering you in acheiving your goals.


2. Should I seek counseling?


Everyone experiences challenging life events or stressors, which are all part of the human experience. At times these challenges may seem too difficult to manage or there are many life events/stressors happening all at once. This can lead to feelings of  frustration, exhaustion, worry and pressure. Support provided from a therapist can help ease the load of feelings and help you develop a plan in attending to the life events/stressors. Common events/stressors people seek therapy for are:


  • Dealing with life transitions (relationship issues, attending college, aging, job loss, illnesses).

  • Trying to manage thoughts and feelings (low self-worth, depression, anxiety, grief and loss).

  • Overcoming unhelpful behaviors (substance abuse, eating issues, self-harm).


Counseling is ultimately your choice and treatment is tailored to your specific needs.


3. What happens in counseling?


The first step of the counseling process is to determine if you and the counselor are the correct fit. Some questions to ask are: "Does this counselor have experience working with the life challenges I present with?" "Does the counselor adhere to the Code of Ethics of their set field of training?" and "Do I feel comfortable with the counselor?" Once you have decided you and the counselor are a fit, it is time to get started.


During the initial counseling intake you and the counselor will go over the goals you want to work towards. The counselor will ask questions to gain a clear picture of the stressors/life events you are facing and how you have managed thus far. The counselor will listen for other areas of concern that may be hindering your growth, which you may not be aware of. Remember we are our own worst critic so these vulnerable areas may be pushed down into our unconscious mind that we may not be thinking objectively. The counselor will discuss these areas with you, at which point you decide collaboratively if these areas could be impacting the areas you first sought out therapy for. A therapeutic plan is then tailored to fit you and the goals you wish to achieve. The therapeutic plan helps both you and the counselor to know what you are achieving and when you have met your goals. Counseling sessions after the intake will focus on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors during the process as well as implementing new skills to reach your goals.


Counseling encourages active participation inside and outside the therapy room. This gives you a chance to implement the skills you are learning in the therapy room to relevant areas outside the therapy room.


4. How long does counseling last?


The initial  counseling intake can average between 1.5 to 2 hours in length. Sessions following the intake are based on a 45 - 50 minute session.

The length of counseling will vary with each individual. Some people need only a few sessions to achieve their goals, thereby usually focusing on a specific event or stressor. Others may require or want months or years of treatment for personal growth or if there is a multitude of events/stressors in their life.


5. Are there risks to being in counseling?


It is important you are aware there are benefits, as well as risks involved in participating in therapeutic services. You may experience interruptions in feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and some issues may worsen before they get better. Social relationships may also be interrupted, as what is beneficial for you may not be as beneficial to the social relationship. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable with change, so the changes you make in therapy can lead others to try and keep the change from happening. For example, if you are working on assertive communication skill and people are not used to you communicating this way, there may be a push back to return to how the relationship was before you implemented changes.



If uncomfortable feelings are coming up for you due to therapy, speak with your therapist to determine if there are other ways to reach your goals. Remember you are in control of your therapy and you have the right to refuse any therapeutic techniques and/or services.  



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