Common Questions People Ask About Counseling:
What is Counseling Like?
Counseling will be a different experience for each person. Your therapist will strive to meet your individual needs based on your unique set of circumstances. In your first session, which is called an “”intake”” appointment, you will be asked basic, informational questions and work with your therapist to establish goals for counseling. What happens during the course of your counseling experience may change over time, based on your situation, progress, or changes in your life. Your therapist may at times suggest exploring potential solutions such as relaxation exercises, role-playing, physical exercise, reading assignments, or even assign homework. How the therapeutic process will progress depends on your needs and goals.
How is couples counseling different from individual counseling?
Individual counseling is a time set aside just for you to begin to explore issues that are creating obstacles in your life and preventing you from reaching your goals. It focuses more on the internal processes of the client. Couples counseling takes this into account also, but the primary focus is on the relationship and how each partner contributes to the relational dynamics between the two people, so, in essence the couple is the client. Identified goals are meant to raise awareness of destructive cycles, improve intimacy, decrease arguments, and improve the overall quality of the relationship.
Is what I share with you kept confidential?
Yes. What you share is kept confidential. Your therapist follows the federal law, Tennessee State Law and the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association. This means that information about your counseling sessions is not shared with anyone without your expressed written permission. There are, however, important exceptions to confidentiality that are legally mandated. In general terms, these exceptions require:
- That I notify relevant others if I judge that a client has any intention to harm either himself/herself or another individual,
- That I report any incident of suspected child or elder abuse, neglect, or molestation in order to protect the child or children or elder person(s) involved, and
- That in legal cases, my records may be subpoenaed by the court.
Confidentiality will be respected in all cases, except as noted above. In those additional cases where in my judgment the maintenance of confidentiality is, in fact, detrimental or destructive to you, I will inform you of my concern, and you will have the final decision as to whether or not I maintain confidentiality. When needed, you will be asked to sign a “Consent for Release of Confidential Information” form which will allow me to discuss your evaluation and/or treatment with others (e.g. Physicians, previous counselors, etc.). If you wish, you may also limit the time or release by an expiration date, and/or limit what I have permission to discuss by writing these instructions in the release form. Please ask your therapist for more information about confidentiality.
Common Myths about Counseling:
Seeking counseling is a sign of weakness.
To the contrary, seeking counseling is taking responsibility for yourself and requires a lot of strength and courage to reach out for support and address issues that you may not be able to manage alone.
Therapy is too expensive.
Counseling is a short-term investment in yourself that can lead to long-term benefits that can last a lifetime, improving many areas of your life. Think about all the temporary things you invest your money in to bring a sense of relief, only to realize the payoff is short-lived.
Therapy just focuses on problems that make you feel bad.
Initially you are exploring problems that can feel overwhelming. Like in gardening, you have to start by cultivating the soil by digging out weeds and rocks. However, with the help of your therapist, you can begin working toward goals to resolve the issues so that you begin to experience an improved sense of well-being.
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