It's normal to have questions about starting counseling. I like to explain counseling as a relationship that works best when there is mutual respect and openness. As such, I encourage you to ask questions or bring your concerns to me so that we can discuss them. Some typical questions clients have are the following:
- How long before I start to notice changes in my life as a result of counseling? Counseling is a bit like going to the gym in that you get out what you put in. Your progress will be a result of us working together and starts with me having accurate information from you. Sometimes this process will be uncomfortable. Sometimes, as in family, parenting or couples counseling, there will be more challenges at first as you start to make changes and those around you are struggling with your new role. Keep it up, that usually means your new changes are getting noticed.
- What can I expect at our first session? We will go over your intake form and talk about your concerns and reasons for seeking counseling. With children, I like to visit with the parent for the initial questions, then spend time talking to just the child. That helps us get to know each other, which is part of what we do in the first session.
- How private is everything we discuss? I believe trust is crucial and I honor the counseling profession's ethical obligations regarding the confidentiality of my clients. Only in the cases of 1) harm to one's self or others or 2)suspicion of elderly and/or child abuse am I required to break that confidentiality to maintain my duty to "do no harm". In the case of minors, parents are usually the ones bringing them to counseling and of course have an interest in knowing how the child is progressing. I ask that parents respect the need for me to establish trust with their child and for us to be able to discuss things freely. With that being said, when a child expresses self-harming behaviors I explain to them that parents will be informed. The rest of our discussions I like to keep private, always including parents on those really important issues.
- How long should I go to counseling and how long are sessions? Sessions are 45 minutes dedicated entirely to you. Out of respect for my clients I start and end on time. Most people benefit from visiting weekly but sometimes you need to visit more frequently. As long as scheduling is available, you are not limited to your number of visits. You go to counseling until you feel you are ready to stop at which time we will discuss that and talk about your plans for aftercare. Of course you can always stop by and visit again after that too. Most people need about 6 sessions to get started and feel comfortable. Change takes time.
- What about cost? Currently there is no cost to receive my counseling services! I am awaiting final paperwork for my certification and when that arrives, I will have to start charging for my professional services. My rates will be $90/session for an individual, couples, or family and the rate for a group participant will be $45/session. I will have a scholarship available for those in need and will soon begin accepting insurance and Medicaid but that process takes quite awhile to finalize.