Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from my first counseling session?
If you have never been to counseling before, your first session can naturally be very anxiety-provoking. It is okay to discuss this anxiety with your counselor and it often helps to do so. The first session is really designed for the counselor to gather information about you and what you are experiencing. This is also a time for you to determine if you feel that this is someone that you can work with. In addition to gathering information, an objective of the first session is to establish goals for counseling to determine exactly what you hope to experience as a result of counseling.

How often would I meet with my counselor?
This will vary depending on the person, goals of counseling, and stage of counseling. This will be something that is mutually agreed upon between you and your counselor.
Often people prefer to meet with their counselor one time per week at the onset of counseling and then move to meeting every other week as you progress. Once you have met your goals, it may be beneficial to meet with your counselor every few weeks to help maintain your new changes.

If I am seeking couples therapy, can I expect to ever meet with my couples therapist individually?
I, personally, view my "client" as being your relationship rather than the individual partners. Therefore, I often do not meet with each partner individually. Sometimes, though, it is helpful and necessary to meet individually. During individual meetings (in the midst of on-going couples counseling), I require each partner to abide by the No Secrets Policy...expect that what is stated in individual meeting will be discussed, when appropriate, with partner. Counselor will hold no secrets for one partner from the other partner.

What is group therapy?
In group therapy, 5-9 people meet face-to-face with one or more trained counselors once a week for 60-90 minutes, depending on the group. Members of the group share personal issues which they are facing. Members also give feedback to each other by expressing their own feelings about what someone says or does. Confidentiality is addressed and emphasized in the group.
Some benefits of group include the opportunity to:
  • Realize that you are not alone
  • Decrease isolation
  • Receive support from others that experience similar issues
  • Observe and reflect on your own and others’ interpersonal skills
  • Benefit from both active participation and observation
  • Receive and give immediate feedback
  • Help others in group as well as receive help
  • Learn from others, discover new ways of coping or thinking about your problems
  • HOPE
What is confidentiality and are there any exceptions to this?
Confidentiality means that you have a right to privacy. In other words, what is said in session with your counselor stays in the session with your counselor.

The exceptions to this are as follows:
  1. You sign a written release of information, therefore, waiving your right to privacy and providing your counselor permission to disclose information to the person or institution that you specify.
  2. Counselor receives a court order to release information and will notify you that the requested information will be released.  Information is usually released in the form of a summary.
  3. Counselor feels that you pose as a danger to yourself or others.  This may include but is not limited to:  high risk of suicide, perpetrator of abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person or dependent adult, homicidal plans….
  4. You are under 16 and your counselor feels that you are currently/recently a victim of rape, incest, abuse or some other crime.