Q: I don’t know if I really need counseling. It’s just talking…right?
A: It is true that counseling is a lot of talking, but it is also work. This work can take the form of digging deep inside of yourself and facing your past, your addictions, your trauma, and more. It can also look like journaling or thought records. This is different for everybody, and I think the most important takeaway is that we often don’t want to (or can’t) talk about some of these things with our friends, partners, co-workers, or family members. The beauty of counseling is that we are not in a personal relationship with one another and I am capable of holding space for whatever you have to say without judgment, and I can look at your situation through a different lens and help you to process your thoughts and emotions differently then if you were just talking to a friend.
Q: Will you address my immediate problem(s) or dig into a deeper issue?
A: I tend to focus on the immediate issues first as I have found that people like having a win to focus on, which often motivates them to continue on in counseling. It is often the small or simple things that can give you something to build on.
Q: What types of treatment do you use?
A: I mainly use Behavior Therapies and Motivational Interviewing as they have long been shown to help people who are dealing with substance use and related issues. I also like to use tools such as mindfulness, meditation, essential oils, exercise, and homework such as journaling. Ultimately, It depends on the client and their specific needs.
Q: Will you lead the session or will I?
A: I am a non-directive counselor. What that means is that I will start off the session by asking you, “what do you want to work on today?” Then we will follow your lead.
Q: Have you been in therapy?
A: I have utilized therapy in the past, and I currently use clinical supervision, which is a form of therapy and guidance for counselors like me. I utilize therapy for two reasons. One, to help me remember what it feels like to be in your shoes. Two, to keep me grounded and to help me keep my clients issues separate from my own. I believe this helps me to be a better counselor for you.
Q: What are the risks and benefits to counseling?
A: It has been shown that participating in counseling can bring you many benefits including improved relationships, solutions to problems, and a decrease in feelings that cause you stress and anxiety. It is important for you to know that counseling requires effort on both of our parts and will often give you back what you put into it. It is equally important to be aware that talking about events or feelings that are uncomfortable or distressing can result in you feeling a number of strong feelings including: anger, worry, anxiety, stress, fear, depression, and more. When we dig into the hard stuff in our lives, it can bring up other uncomfortable things that may not have been planned for or expected when you entered into counseling. Some of the changes that you choose to make as a result of the work you do here may not be well received initially by friends and family. Overall, positive change can and will occur through this process, it just takes time and patience.
Now that you’ve considered these questions…are you ready?