Frequently Asked Questions
Deciding to begin counseling can be a potentially scary or anxiety provoking idea. Below you will find the answers to some very common questions people have as they consider beginning counseling with a licensed psychotherapist.
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Q: I'm nervous about talking to someone, is that normal?
A: YES! Feeling uncertain about talking to a stranger about your most intimate thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors is not only normal, it is to be expected. Often the things we talk about in therapy are things we've avoided, denied or buried, sometimes for many years. It is completely normal to feel anxious or afraid about bringing these things to light. Luckily, there is strong research support for the helpfulness of therapy and the discomfort and anxiety lead the way to a greater quality of life, focused on the things that matter most.
Q: Does going to counseling mean there's something wrong with me or that I am crazy?
A: NOPE! Going to counseling only means that you are seeking relief to pain and struggle that keep life feeling small and pointless. Going to counseling means you have courage and resilience and want life to be more than it perhaps feels right now. Every single human being that has ever lived has experienced pain and heartache in their lives. That you are in touch with your pain means you are in touch with the pain of being human. That you are in touch with the desire to also experience the joy and wonder that being human entails means you are in touch with your own vision for your life worth living.
Q: How do I know counseling is right for me?
A: Counseling, sometimes called "talk therapy" can be a helpful experience if you are struggling with an aspect of your life. Below are only a few common situations that lead people to seek counseling:
- feel stressed or feel like everything is more intense or more difficult
- relationships with your partner, friends or family feel strained or distant
- things you used to enjoy have lost their appeal
- feel a lack of meaning in life, feel lost or without direction
- regularly suffer from headaches, stomach aches or a run-down immune system
- use substances to escape or deal with your problems
- struggle to accomplish things at work or have recently gotten negative feedback
- experienced a traumatic event
- lost a loved one or had a significant life change/transition
- loved ones have expressed their concern or worry about you
- have thoughts about not wanting to be alive or thoughts of hurting yourself
- feel overwhelmed by constant worries or fears
If any of these things resonate with you, or sparked you to think of something that you are struggling with and would like to learn new ways to cope with, handle, and address them, counseling could be helpful to you.
Q: How do I find the right therapist?
A: Not every therapist is going to be the right fit for you and it is very important that you take the time to find someone who is right for YOU. While your criteria will be unique, here are some things to consider as you explore your options:
- Trust your intuition, your "gut feelings" about initial impressions
- What gender would you inherently prefer to work with?
- How does their profile photo strike you?
- When you contact them, do you feel listened to?
- Do your interactions with them feel centered around you or the therapist?
- Were your questions answered to your satisfaction?
Call therapists you are interested in and have a list of questions you want to ask them ready at hand. If you aren't satisfied, call someone else. Notice how you feel as you interact with the therapist. How did you feel in that first phone call? How did you feel when you first went to their office? How did you feel while looking at their website? Notice all these experiences and trust yourself to find someone who is a good fit for you.
Q: What happens in the first counseling session?
A: This first session has a number of different purposes. One is to orient you to the therapy process and answer questions you have about what to expect. Another is to inform you of Green Light Counseling policies regarding payment, attendance, cancellations, and other business items. Payment terms are agreed upon in this first session, including determining sliding-scale rates. The majority of the first session is used to assess your presenting circumstances. I will ask you questions about your medical and psychological history, family history, your strengths and challenges and get details from you about why you are seeking counseling at this time. Together we will agree on therapeutic goals and schedule on-going appointments. It is in the on-going appointments that the counseling work will take place, at a pace that works for each individual.