What is Counseling? -- and related questions

You may have questions about therapy.  Let’s talk about what therapy is and what it is not.

What therapy is:
What therapy is not:
An opportunity to explore your needs, feelings, and concerns.
A space where you would be shamed for those needs, feelings and concerns.
An opportunity to decide for yourself what you want and what works for you.  
You changing to make me happy or to meet someone else’s notion of who you need to be.
A collaborative relationship in which both of us bring what we know and have learned into the room to help create your change.
Me telling you what to do or fixing your problems.
A place to learn to take care of and advocate for yourself.
A space that fosters self-pity or dependence.
A strong choice that shows your respect for yourself and a willingness to try something new.
A sign of weakness, laziness, or immaturity.

Here are some other common questions:
Do I have to be crazy to need therapy?
No.  In fact, “crazy” is not even a word we use in diagnosis or documentation.

Why would I come to therapy?
You come to therapy to work through something you don’t know how to change on your own. Maybe you feel depressed or overwhelmed. Maybe you worry a lot and have trouble sleeping or making decisions.  Maybe you have difficulty finding and maintaining safe and fulfilling relationships or employment.  Maybe you have had bad things happen and have not been able to work through them. Maybe you have had or are coming up on a major life change and need some support.  These are just a few of the reasons people seek therapy.  If you have questions about whether therapy might be right for you, please feel free to call and ask.

Doesn’t therapy mean I am weak or don’t have enough willpower?
No. Most people don’t feel shame for taking their cars to the shop or getting treatment for a physical illness or injury. We go to professionals at that time because we cannot or do not know how to take care of those things for ourselves.  Therapy is the same.  Rather than showing weakness, it shows your wisdom in knowing that you have a problem you need help resolving.  Be proud of having the courage to ask for help when you need it.
Is therapy safe?
You should always feel safe in therapy, but therapy is not always comfortable. I will not intentionally hurt you but I may challenge you in ways that may feel uncomfortable.  Change is usually uncomfortable.  I encourage you to talk with me if you are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable in our work together.
Is therapy confidential?
Within certain limits, yes.  In general, I do not speak to anyone about you or your treatment without your consent.  If, however, you are a risk to yourself or someone else, I may have to inform someone without your consent in order to maintain safety.  Also, if I am compelled by a judge’s order, I may have to release information.  Your insurance company may also have access to your information for billing and coverage.  We will talk more about this at your first session.
Do you prescribe medication?
No. If you need medication, I am happy to help you find a psychiatrist or other professional who can help you with that need.  
Do you take insurance?
I am on some insurance panels. If I do not take your insurance, I am happy to bill as an out-of-network provider.  Feel free to call ahead to see if I am on your insurance.
How do I set an appointment?
Call me at (404) 487-8179. I will be happy to talk to you.
What are your hours?
My hours vary based on day and location. Call me to discuss specific options.

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