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Couple Therapy Session

Common Questions

How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.  
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face. 

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. 
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  It is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.   
What is the difference between counseling and coaching?
Coaching has become very popular in the last several years as a tool to assist people who are not struggling with a diagnosed problem like depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.  Coaching is a form of counseling that uses similar principles like active listening, stresses positive thinking, behavior modification and other tools to help people make productive changes to reach their goal.  Coaching may address lifestyles or relationships, career or occupations, or any other area where you would like to improve.  As a coach I use a form of counseling called Solution Focused Therapy which is looks primarily at the solution or goal of the individual and assisting the client to find healthy and successful attitudes, thoughts and behaviors.  Currently Coaches are not required to have specific training or license (although training and certifications are available for those without advanced training or licensure).  Currently Life Coaches (and other similar forms of coachin) do not have a specific body or organization to which they are accountable.  
Counseling on the other hand is a more indepth process that focuses on identifying and alleviating conditions impeding healthy lifestyle, work or relationships.  Thes issues may be cognitive, behavioral, developmental or even genetic. Counselors will often diagnose a condition and recommend relevant therapy or treatments that have been successfully reseached and used to treat those conditions.  Counselors will collect information from the past and present to help the client identify dysfunction and work with their clients set goals and ways to achieve them.  Counselors often work with primary care physicians, psychiatrists, casemanagers and other healthcare professionals to provide a continuum of care.  Counselors are required to have a minimum of a Masters degree as well as internship, practicum, and standardized examination all toward their own states licensure.  Counselors are required to participate in continuing education to maintain their licensure and are also required to undergo a strict background check.  Licensed Professional Counselors are accountable to their state licensing board as well as legal and ethical expectations.  
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  
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.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. 

Do you provide Christian Counseling?

There are a variety of ways that Christian counseling is offered.  As someone who has been trained as a counselor and trained in Pastoral Theology, I have been equipped to work with people on a wide range of faith and spiritual concerns as well as providing a faith based and Biblically based approach to counseling.  This is completely up to the client and can be requested.  Simply stated I am a Christian who provides counseling to anyone seeking help.  I provide the best tools I can to help clients reach their goals.  If clients wish me to provide prayer, I will pray with them.  If they wish for me to provide Biblical or scriptural support, I will provide this as well.  

Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.

The purpose here is to do everything we can to protect you from harm to yourself or harm to others.