How do I know that I need counseling or therapy?

Many individuals access counseling because of specific problem areas in their lives, such as depression, anxiety, or addictions. Counseling is helpful when you are going through a stressful or traumatic time, and you do not feel comfortable talking to family or friends about the situation. Counseling is also a source of information, support, and resources. Often grief or previous trauma motivates a desire for counseling services.

Does it mean that something is wrong with me if I need counseling or therapy? 

No. We all go through difficult times and need to ask for help with problem-solving and decision-making. We also need support and the comfort available in a safe, protective relationship. Often, we need to learn additional skills or to process through events in our lives so that we can heal.

What are the benefits of counseling?

Potential benefits of counseling and therapy include significant reduction in feelings of distress, improvement in problem-solving and coping skills, and resolution of certain problems. Other benefits include the relief experienced when talking about your problems, rather than holding them inside; your increase in self-awareness and knowledge of yourself and others, resulting in improvement in relationships; and skills development, so that you are better able to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

What are the risks of counseling and therapy?

Risks actually include the experience of uncomfortable feelings (such as sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, helplessness) and the recall of painful experiences in your life. In order to heal, however, we have to process through grief and painful feelings. Avoidance and denial only result in a prolonging of negative feelings and less effectiveness in day-to-day living.  

Online, phone, or email counseling offers certain limitations, compared to in-person communication. Among these are the lack of "personal" face-to-face interactions, the lack of visual and audio cues in the counseling process, and the fact that not all insurance companies will cover this type of counseling.

What can you expect from the first counseling  or therapy session?

The first session is the time to get to know each other. You can ask questions about my training, experience, and expertise in the area for which you are seeking counseling. You will provide me with history regarding the reason you are seeking counseling. After that, you decide what you are willing to talk about. A counselor sometimes acts as a teacher, a guide, or a coach. Many processes occur in a therapy session. The most important ingredient, though, is that you have a trusting relationship with your counselor or therapist, and that you feel safe to talk about what you need to talk about.

How long will it take to schedule a counseling session?

I will usually be able to schedule an appointment within one to two weeks. I will do my best to accommodate your schedule. If you are in immediate crisis, I will schedule you on an urgent basis, which may require either early morning or evening sessions.

Will you keep records of our sessions?

Both law and the standards of the counseling profession require that I maintain client records.  

"The only journey is the one within."
Rainer Maria Rilke