Frequently Asked Questions
It is good to interview at least three counseling professionals; most will give you
a free half
hour of time for this purpose, when you can ask questions and get a feel for the chemistry
between the two of you.
Most have professional codes of ethics, whether or not they are licensed.
All credentialed counselors and therapists are required to give a written description
their background to show their education and experience working with people.
Frequency & duration of sessions
Weekly sessions are traditional for a reason; when sessions are too spread out, it is difficult for either party to develop either
continuity in what's being said, or a feeling of mutual trust. Counseling usually goes anywhere from 3 months
to two years,
and it's good to have a basic idea of what you want ahead of time.
What to expect
Therapists use a number of different
techniques and differing approaches
to think about people and
situations. It is good to
discuss this with a counselor when you meet them; but it will become more clear after the first several sessions. A lot
depends upon the philosophy and style of the therapist; some
let you do most of the talking; others engage in more
dialogue; and still others have a teaching
what is most appealing
and useful to you at the time.
with a therapist
A little difference with the therapist can be part of the
process. Even so, it is important you generally feel supported and
validated by the therapist and aim to be as authentic and
genuine in counseling sessions as you would be in your daily life.
Most of the work in therapy is accomplished through the relationship
with someone you trust outside of your personal situation.
and use of
Psychological labels (depression,
hysteria, etc.) and
prescribed drug treatment are tools and can be used
or abused Labels
are simply shorthand for complex responses to life situations, while
prescribed drugs are often used
to support a person through a crisis time; some people, however, are prescribed meds to alter chemical imbalances.
The important considerations are whether labels create
expectations that are self limiting, and whether drug treatment
interferes with, or supports, efforts at continuing awareness and
involvement with life.
Signs that I am done and
ready to stop sessions
a person feels more resolved with their
initial concerns, or has reached a plateau in their therapy, sessions become
chit-chatty. This is one sign that you
are done or can afford to take a break. It is important,
client, for you to be pro-active. When you are finished, say so.
is important to trust the
therapist you are seeing enough to make
a commitment to attend the
sessions. You will not
always leave feeling
better, so deciding early whether you trust your
counselor is important for that
commitment. In the
first month or two, if you realize you don't feel
comfortable for any reason during sessions, trust
therapist know you won't be
returning. Also read the Clients
Rights brochure the state requires every counselor
Clients' Rights brochure (info link)
I encourage people not to
for reasons of privacy,
and to realize if a
company pays for your sessions,
are theirs. When I take insurance as an
you would ask whether your company
recognizes out-of-network; I then give a diagnosis and bill for
services, collecting any co-pay the company requires.
Other Common Questions
>> Consumer Questions about Mental Health and
Some Links to Helpful Resources
Finding Each Other:
Writing Down the Bones (picture
On the Way to the Wedding (picture
link) Peoplemaking (picture link)
Self Help & Resource Guide
Cancer & the Family: