Life has a tendency to throw us a curve ball every now and then. Often when that happens there is a need to seek outside help. The entire process of finding the right person to help in any given situation can seem daunting at best and downright scary at the worst. I’ve provided several questions and answers that may help take some of the difficulty out of the process. If you have a question that is not listed, please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer.
Do I really need therapy?
This question has a LOT of other questions wrapped up inside of it. There are plenty of social stigmas when it comes to therapy. These social pressures tend to keep all of us isolated and feeling as if we need to handle our problems on our own. However, therapy isn’t about being “weak” or “broken” in any way but about finding the kinds of solutions that will help you move forward in the direction of positive change. The therapist’s role is to join you in this journey at the place where you are and then provide support and guidance along the way. After all, everybody could use a helping hand every now and then.
We’ve all seen images of therapy portrayed in movies and television shows,but in order to understand what therapy is really like we have to get rid of the picture of a person lying on the couch crying as the therapist says something profound like, “Hmmmm, tell me more.”
Therapy should feel like a conversation. And just as each individual is different,every therapy conversation is unique. Typically we will spend some time discussing the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of sessions (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) where each session lasts around 50 minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions between therapy sessions such as reading a book or keeping a journal. The key to success in therapy is much like many other things in life —you get out of it what you’re willing to put into it.
Most therapists set their session time at 50 minutes in order to allow for easy scheduling. However, as you may be able to tell by now, I don’t tend to think in terms of what fits best for the schedule as much as what is the best thing for helping this person move forward. It may be that we finish a session in 30 minutes if that’s what is necessary, or it may be that the conversation takes us places that we couldn’t possibly cover in an hour. I’ll do my best to be flexible to fit your schedule, and at times I’ll ask the same of my clients.
This is another one of those tricky questions. I tend to think about therapy much the way I think about the process of helping my kids learn to ride a bike. For a while, they needed me to run along side them to keep them steady, but the ultimate goal was for them to experience what it is like to ride the bike by themselves. When they fell down,my job was to dust them off and give them the confidence to try again.
In a similar fashion, in therapy my role is to come along side and help things become steady again. Sometimes this takes a very short time (one or two sessions), at other times there is a lot of work to be done that may take a little longer (6-8 sessions), and there are even times when you may get down the road a little and fall down and need a session or two to get going in the right direction again. We’ll talk about this more during our first session, but the best answer is that I will work with you to customize your treatment plan to your individual needs. Together we will determine the number of sessions necessary, but a good general rule is “the bigger the issue, the more work it will take to create real change.”
What’s different about Green Counseling?
While there are plenty of options available when it comes to counseling,the one thing that I hope will set Green Counseling Services apart from the others is the issue of sustainability. Green Counseling is designed to be more sustainable in three particular ways: 1) cost, 2)flexibility, and 3) approach.
I believe that the cost of therapy is one of the major obstacles for most people seeking help. As I have worked in several other settings, it seems that one of the driving forces in those settings is the bottom line of business — profit. While I understand the need to make a living, the design of Green Counseling Services is to place the needs of people first and allow the financial portion to follow. This is the primary reason for the sliding fee scale and the emphasis on the client being “invested” in the process over cost per hour.
The second difference is the emphasis on flexibility. Our world tends to drive us to a frenzied pace that leaves little time for healing or growth. This is particularly true when it comes time to schedule an appointment. Most counseling services have a designated location and if you want to make an appointment you have to work your schedule to fit their office hours and make the trip to their location. Currently I am seeing clients in multiple locations, but I am also available for “in home” therapy with families as well as other possible locations. Some issues may be able to be handled over digital media such as e-mail,phone, or video messaging services. My goal is to take the obstacles of time and location out of the way so that the focus is growth and change.
Finally, most counseling services tend to approach change from a limited perspective. Whether they are working from a medical model or from a specific theory of therapy, the tendency is to “specialize” which can be limiting when dealing with the nuances of life’s problems. As most therapists, I have been trained in multiple theories with an emphasis on integrating those theories into a seamless practice. However, since my training in therapy I have had additional training in life coaching, mentoring, leadership development, and spiritual direction. As such, my approach to change tends toward a more holistic vision and allows for flexibility as we work together to find sustainable solutions for real life issues.
Is therapy confidential?
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.