Beginning therapy can be an intimidating process. You aren’t sure if it’s the right time to come to counseling, how to choose the right counselor or what to expect. Here are some of the most common questions I am asked by new individual and couples counseling clients.
Common Questions When Starting Counseling
What is the difference between talking to a counselor or a trusted friend or family member?
The difference between talking to a therapist and talking to a trusted friend is a therapist has the training and experience to guide you professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You would not have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if you have been confiding in a friend or family member about a situation that provokes a great deal of negative emotion, , there is the risk that once you are feeling better, you may be inclined to avoid that person so you are not reminded of this difficult time in your life.
I have never talked to anyone. I am usually a strong person. Is it a sign of weakness to ask for counseling help now?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out.
You have already developed many coping skills and ways of dealing with problems. For most of your life, these have worked. For whatever reason – depression, a move across the country, college stress, a new career, relationship problems, etc – things seem a little more overwhelming right now. That’s ok. Everyone reaches that point now and then and needs a little help. A professional counselor is meant to provide this sort of help. In therapy, I will help you identify the strengths you already have and discover new tools for improving your current situation.
Why can’t I just take medication? Or will you “push meds” and tell me to go get medication?
As a psychotherapist, I believe that medication alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes, medication can treat symptoms. However, our work in counseling sessions is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy, but if your goal is to avoid medication I will work with you toward that goal.
How does therapy work? What do I have to do in counseling sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. If you want to learn more about my counseling approach to specific issues, please take a look at the following pages:
- Couples & Marriage Therapy
- Counseling for College Students
- Anxiety Treatment
- Depression Therapy
- Career Counseling
How long I be in Counseling?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to estimate the duration of time therapy can take in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique. Therefore, the length of time therapy in therapy depends on your specific desires for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
When you first come to counseling, we will generally meet more regularly (typically weekly or biweekly). This helps us establish a strong therapeutic relationship and begin working on the issue(s) bringing you to counseling to start with. As you begin to feel better, we will start meeting less often.
Do you offer Individual Counseling?
Because my domain is “CouplesTherapyOhio.com” I occasionally get this question. While marriage & couples counseling is one of my specialities, I also offer individual counseling services to college students and adults of all ages in Cincinnati, OH. Most often, I offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety treatment. However, individual counseling can help with a variety of other mental health concerns such as major life transitions, feeling stuck or even career counseling. I offer counseling services for adults college age through retirement.
Are you a Christian Counselor? Can I talk about my faith & spiritual issues in therapy sessions?
Because I have a Masters degree in theology from the University of Dayton, a lot of people do choose to explore issues related to spirituality in counseling sessions with me. If you choose to discuss your faith in a therapy session, I welcome those conversations. Counseling can be helpful at any point in your faith journey.
However, I am not exclusively a Christian Counselor. In fact, it is ok if you aren’t religious at all. I still want you to feel comfortable in my therapy office.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success, and your motivation will help you make improvement faster. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. The work you do outside of our sessions will really help you see your personal growth and development. I often assign homework assignments meant to help you take what you’ve learned in session into your daily life. In order to get the most out of our work together, I strongly encourage you to fully commit to both being open in sessions AND completing all homework assignments between sessions.
Do you accept insurance for therapy services?
I am considered an Out of Network Mental Health Provider. Many of my clients do choose to use their insurance benefits. I can provide a superbill to be sent to your insurance company. Some insurance companies reimburse a greater portion than others, so I encourage you to call and ask about your plan’s coverage before starting. You can learn more about my counseling rates here.
Questions About Couples Therapy or Marriage Counseling Specifically
Will Couples Counseling help if we’re not married?
Absolutely! Any committed couple can benefit from couples therapy. Counseling is not confined to couples who are married. I work with couples anywhere on their life and relationship journey. Whether you are just starting out, moving in together, are engaged, newly married, raising children or adjusting as a couple to the increased time together that comes with retirement-Couples counseling can be helpful! Please do not hesitate to come in to work on your relationship!
Who Benefits from Pre-Marital Counseling
The short answer is: Anyone! Any couple who is considering marriage, engaged, actively planning a wedding or newly married may benefit from pre-marital counseling. Couples may come in who have questions about compatibility or are struggling in a particular area. However, even couples who feel really strong in their relationship may come in to prevent problems down the road.
In pre-marital counseling we will work on effective communication and
help you establish healthy patterns for handling conflict. Even the strongest couples will experience conflict over the course of a marriage, and developing a healthy way of addressing that conflict now will help you for years to come.
I also use the Gottman pre-marital assessment to help you identify things that may be helpful to discuss. Some of these issues you may have never even thought to talk about yet. For instance, we will discuss expectations about family planning, education, sex, finances and jobs/employment/career. Many of the topics we discuss in pre-marital counseling are topics that couples have politely avoided in previous conversations.
In Couples Counseling, do you just sit there and listen to us talk to each other?
While it’s important that I observe how you interact with your romantic partner, I take a more active approach to couples counseling. I interact with you and actively help you change your communication patterns. Together, we will help you learn new ways to communicate and improve your connection as a couple. You can learn more about my approach to couples counseling here.
My spouse and I are having relationship problems. Should we be in individual counseling or couples therapy?
When the relationship is the primary reason you are coming to counseling, I initially work with both individuals. After this work, I could continue individual sessions with only one of you. It is often not helpful to move from couple’s work into individual work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.