Is counseling helpful?

Studies show that over eighty percent of people can benefit from counseling at some time in their lives. So, it is normal to need counseling when special concerns or difficult feelings arise.

What are common problems addressed in counseling?

Issues with anxiety, depression, stress, and relationships are commonly addressed in counseling. Additional issues may include mood disorders, bereavement, life transitions and post-traumatic stress. A negative life event or pending/recent divorce are also common issues addressed. Some clients are not sure what the problem is, and come to a counselor to help figure it out and other clients come to improve the quality of their life and enhance their personal relationships.

How does therapy help?

Therapy helps clients:

  • Understand their present difficulties
  • Make modifications to improve coping and outcome
  • Cope with loss of loved one or a relationship
  • Cope with stress
  • Integrate post traumatic experiences into their life story.
  • Identify triggers that worsen symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Improve esteem
  • Identify and modify unhealthy behavior and patterns
  • Navigate life’s difficulties more effectively
  • Enhance the overall quality of life
  • Plan for the future

What happens at a counseling intake or session?

The first session is approximately 90 minutes long. During that session, the counselor will ask the client many questions, including what brings the client into therapy? The counselor will take notes and complete a biopsychosocial history of the client and the issues that prompted the client to seek counseling support. Clients can expect the clinician to ask questions about medical history, mental health history, substance abuse history, emotional and physical symptoms, behavioral, childhood history, adult history and family history. The clinician completes this history in order to make an accurate assessment, diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. It is not unusual for clients to feel nervous or uncomfortable at their first session, but this usually dissipates quickly as the relationship and trust between client and counselor develops.

Sessions following the intake session usually run about 55 minutes. It is beneficial for clients to meet weekly with the counselor initially. During these weekly sessions, you will discuss your concerns and progress toward resolving issues. Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client

Does health insurance cover counseling?

All health insurance plans must provide mental health coverage, which typically includes counseling. Call your insurance company and ask about your mental health coverage options. Your insurance company can provide you with benefit details (co-pay information, deductible information and session information). Additionally, the insurance company can provide you with a list of local providers who accept your insurance plan.

Will I need to take medications?

Not necessarily. Many issues and situations that counselors address with clients do not require medications treatment. If you and your counselor decide that medications should be considered as an adjunct to counseling, your counselor will discuss referral options with you. If medication is recommended, client will need to see a physician or a a psychiatrist to be prescribed any medications.

Will I have to take medication for the rest of my life?

Clients are often concerned that they will require medication “for the rest of their life” and this is often not warranted or recommended. Often medications are used to help manage acute symptoms so that work done in therapy can effectively move clients towards improve coping and functioning.

How do I know this counselor is right for me?

Trust your ability to determine if you and the counselor are a good fit. Finding someone you can trust and feel safe with is essential to the therapeutic process. Does the counselor listen to me? Do I feel safe? Is the counselor empathetic? How do I feel about this person? Trust, safety and empathy are good places to begin, and then be curious about how the relationship with develop and enfold. Relationships grow over time. The more you meet with your counselor the more you will know if your life is enhanced by the therapeutic relationship.

Is everything I say confidential?

As a licensed professional (LCSW) I am required to protect the confidentiality of their communications with clients. As a client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure will be made with your full written, informed consent and will be limited to a specific period of time.

The law in the State of Connecticut provides the following exceptions to confidentiality, but even in these circumstances you will be informed before confidential information is revealed whenever possible:
If the therapist has knowledge of abuse of a child, elder, or a person with a disability.
If the therapist has knowledge of intent to harm himself/herself or others.
If the therapist receives a court order to the contrary.

How can I get the most out of my counseling sessions?

You can maximize your sessions by arriving on-time and prepared to discuss topics and issues are impacting your wellness and coping.
Complete homework assignments and come prepared to discuss how the homework assignment impacted your healing and wellness.
Be proactive in your treatment and in self care; eat properly, get sufficient rest, drink water and exercise.
Be patient, growth takes time.

How long will I need therapy?

The length of the therapeutic relationship with a counselor varies. Some issues are quickly resolved within a few weeks or months, other issues may require on-going support. The length of treatment and frequency of treatment are determined with the counselor and re-evaluated periodically during treatment.