"Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in wholehearted living, that is, in taking initiative, cultivating resilience, gaining greater self-awareness, and working towards long-lasting change in their lives."
To be most effective, the counseling process requires trust and honesty. Especially in the early stages of counseling, it can be difficult to develop trust. That's perfectly normal and acceptable. A piece of my responsibility in the forming of our relationship is being open and honest about the therapeutic process.
Each client is different. Each will have varying concerns throughout the process and I encourage an ongoing conversation about your experiences in therapy. There are often common questions that arise, so I devote time and space to ask and answer some of these questions here.
What is counseling?
Counseling (or therapy or psychotherapy) is a professional, collaborative, and relational process that empowers and enriches people to make positive changes, accomplish their therapeutic goals, and to live wholehearted lives.
Is counseling right for me?
People seek counseling for any number of reasons. Thus, the answer to this question is largely dependent on you and your readiness to commit to the process of change. Working with a professional provides deeper insight and understanding, a safe place to process life's difficulties, and support for growth and healing. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in wholehearted living, that is, in taking initiative, cultivating resilience, gaining greater self-awareness, and working towards long-lasting change in your life.
Under what circumstances should I seek therapy?
To be honest, there are no rules here. We all have problems and concerns that at some point may become too much to handle on our own. This is completely normal. Here are some specific times when counseling may be helpful:
When you notice your concerns are persistently disrupting your day-to-day life. Symptoms may manifest in the following ways: 1) In your body (e.g., problems sleeping, fatigue, or significant weight loss or gain, any acts of self harm); 2) In the way you think (e.g., decreased concentration, suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness); 3) In the way you feel and experience emotions (e.g., difficulty managing emotions, feeling worthless or ashamed, feeling abandoned or alone); 4) In the way you interact with others (e.g., sudden outbursts, irritability, feelings of insecurity or fear)
When you have discord or instability in your significant relationships or your work-setting, including conflict, communication problems, or trust issues.
For support during and after any significant loss. Grief can be unique and terrible, so having support during this time is crucial.
When you have experienced a troublesome or traumatic event and you are not sure how to deal with it. Trauma-reactions, like re-experiencing, can be very distressing and easily misunderstood. Counseling helps you cope more effectively and move past these events or experiences.
For personal growth. Setting aside intentional time for growth and processing can be one of the most rewarding things you can do at any point of your life.
Please check out the "Information and Preparation" section for more information about conditions and disorders and ways you begin preparing for treatment on your own.
How long will I be in therapy?
The length of therapy depends on factors such as the complexity or severity of your problem and how motivated you are for counseling. Duration of therapy typically goes for 1-4 months, or 4-16 sessions. Some issues may require less, others more. The goal of counseling is to get to you to a healthier place as soon as possible.
What if we get started, but later I want to go to someone else for counseling?
Let me emphasize that this is an excellent question, and for many, a difficult one to ask. You always have the right to discontinue counseling with me at any point. A good "fit" between counselor and client is important, so I invite your feedback throughout therapy.
Can you just tell me what I need to do?
In short, the answer is "no". This is a common but unfortunate misunderstanding about counseling: I do not have all the answers, I cannot tell you what's best for you, or what decisions you should make. My role as a counselor is to help you understand how your past and present have culminated in your current situation and to help you to make changes for the future. I will offer feedback and recommendations throughout therapy, but even this is a collaborative process.
How much is counseling going to cost me?
Therapy involves a significant commitment of time, effort and money. Assuming, however, that you are more curious about monetary fees, please refer to the "Fees and Insurance" section for payment policies and details. Some of the cost may be covered by your insurance, if applicable.
What does confidentiality mean?
Confidentiality is an essential part of the therapeutic process. It means that all aspects of your participation in clinical services, including the scheduling of appointments, content disclosed in counseling sessions, and all records and documentation are confidential as outlined by federal and state law. I go to great lengths to protect the information you share in counseling. I will cover the details of confidentiality, including law mandated limitations, prior to starting counseling.
Do you maintain a legal and ethical practice?
I am committed to the highest level of legal and ethical standard for licensed mental health counselors and associates. I adhere to WA's law for mental health practitioners by maintaining current licensing, learning through continuing education, keeping active insurance, and participating in clinical supervision and consultation. Further, I adhere to the ACA Code of Ethics and keep up to date on Federal and WA State law and legislature.
What is your theoretical orientation or counseling philosophy?
There are several counseling theories which influence how I "do" counseling. I believe that each of us has within ourselves the desire to heal and grow. This is best accomplished in an environment where you are accepted and valued unconditionally. I work hard to foster this safe-haven and provide you a safe place to be yourself without shame or fear.
Specifically, my theoretical orientation is best described as integrative or eclectic, drawing strongly from empirically-supported theories such humanistic, emotion-focused, and attachment-based perspectives. This means that I utilize a broad range of complementary therapeutic strategies and adapt the counseling process according to your needs.