Common Questions about Care to Change
If you’ve never talked with a counselor, you might be anxious. We understand that counseling is never easy. But then, neither is life. And there’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about asking for help. In fact, knowing you need help is a sign of courage and character. It means you’re ready for change, and we’re here to guide you through the process of making those changes.
Through our work with clients, we’ve encountered many of the same questions. We’ve included some of the most commonly asked questions on this page. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, we invite you to call or email us.
+ Why do people go to counseling?
There are many reasons people decide to turn to a counselor. Generally, it’s because they’re facing some kind of personal or relationship challenge that seems to be impossible to overcome. Perhaps it’s a relationship that has become troubled or even broken. Maybe it’s a fear that’s interfering with their enjoyment of daily life, work, family, or friends. Often, it’s something they feel but have difficulty putting into words. Some clients describe it as a feeling of being “stuck” — they know they want to move toward something that’s better and happier, but they don’t know how to get there, or even how to start.
+ How do I know if I need to see a counselor?
If you’re asking the question, it’s a good sign that you believe you could benefit from counseling. If you feel that something is keeping you from enjoying life and relationships with others to the fullest, if life seems to lack meaning, if you’re struggling with something you just can’t overcome, or if you’re not sure of your meaning as a person, you may benefit from counseling
Often, people seek help from friends or family members. That usually isn’t successful, because family members and friends can’t approach your situation from an objective perspective. They know you too well, and their relationship with you affects their view of your challenges. Our counselors are experienced professionals who have been trained to help people better understand themselves and what they need to do to move forward in life and in relationships.
+ Shouldn't I be able to handle my own problems?
We all want to rely on our own resources and abilities, and throughout most of our lives, those resources and abilities serve us very well. But we also encounter challenges that seem to be impossible to overcome. We’ve heard many clients describe it as a feeling of being “stuck” — they know they want to move toward something that’s better and happier, but they don’t know how to get there, or even how to start. Perhaps it’s a relationship that has become troubled or even broken. Maybe it’s a fear that it’s interfering with their enjoyment of daily life, work, family, or friends. Often, it’s something they feel but have difficulty putting into words.
Reaching for help at those times isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s actually proof of personal courage. Admitting that you want to move forward, but can’t seem to do it on your own, requires more bravery than most people realize. And more often than not, people who have grown through counseling tell us they wished they had started sooner.
+ How does counseling work?
Counseling is a process that is different for each person, because each of us is unique and has unique needs. The goal of counseling is to help you better understand yourself and your interactions with others so you can take control of your life, be who you want to be, and achieve your goals. A counselor will ask questions to learn more about you and your challenges, and offer practical suggestions for steps you can take. After you try the suggestions, the counselor will discuss the results and help you adjust. Counseling is performed in a calm, supportive, safe environment. It’s your opportunity to speak freely, knowing that your counselor is there to help you walk through life, not to judge or label you. Ultimately, counseling’s success depends upon your commitment to the process. If you’re completely honest and are open to ideas and change, you’ll gain the greatest benefits.
+ Isn't counseling just a temporary fix?
Not at all. A key part of counseling involves giving you strategies and tools to help you deal with future challenges in life. It helps you avoid situations that trigger the wrong kinds of responses, allows you to recognize patterns that aren’t positive, and gives you insight into why you react the way you do. Effective counseling provides benefits that last a lifetime.
+ How long does it take?
Everyone asks this question, and there’s no simple answer. The length of counseling depends upon the nature of the challenges you’re facing, what you’ve experienced and learned through life, your own goals and expectations, and your willingness to work toward a successful outcome. It is not a quick or easy process, and may take many appointments across multiple months.
+ How long is each session?
A typical counseling session lasts 45 minutes, although our counselors may adjust that length based upon an individual’s needs and situation.
+ Do you prescribe medications?
Sometimes, healing the mind also requires healing the body, but as professional counselors, we cannot write prescriptions. If we believe that your condition might benefit from some type of medication (for example, to help with depression or anxiety issues), we will provide you with a recommended practitioner who can help.
With your permission, we can consult with your doctor to share information that may be beneficial. We will not divulge private or potentially embarrassing information that you do not want us to share.
+ How do I choose the right counselor?
Just as people have different personalities, no two counselors are alike. It’s important that you work with someone who you trust and with whom you’re completely comfortable. You’ll usually know after the first session if you’ve chosen the right counselor. If you find it easy to talk with the counselor, it’s clear that he or she is not only listening carefully but understanding what you have to say, and you believe you’d be confident sharing your deepest personal secrets with him or her, you’ve probably found the right counselor. On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable or find the conversation difficult, you may need to consider seeing someone else.
Professional counselors understand that their approaches aren’t right for every person, and will not be offended if you explain that you don’t feel they are the right choice for you. They want counseling to be a successful process for you, and a professional will never hesitate to recommend other counselors whose personality and approach may be better suited for your situation.
+ How do I prepare for counseling?
You’ll probably be nervous about your first session, but don’t worry. That’s completely normal, especially if you’ve never been in counseling before. Our counselors hope you’ll arrive with an open mind, a desire to listen, and a willingness to be completely open and honest about yourself and your relationships with those around you. You’ll find that counselors spend a lot more time listening to you than talking. That’s because the only way they can learn about you is through your words. A counselor is likely to ask many questions over a series of sessions to deepen his or her understanding of your challenges. Counselors typically take notes during sessions to help them remember key facts about your situation (after all, we see several individuals in a typical day, and we don’t want to forget anything).
+ Is what I discuss shared with anyone else?
Our counselors are required by law and professional ethics to keep conversations with you private. For counseling to succeed, there must be strong trust between a counselor and a client. When you begin counseling, we’ll ask you to sign a document that explains our standards for privacy and confidentiality, and we’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you have.
If you plan to obtain payment for counseling through a third party such as an insurance company, we may be required to disclose some information to that party, but we will explain that to you. Also, the law requires us to report any suspected abuse or neglect of children or other adults to local and state authorities, and to take action if we believe you are at risk of harming yourself or another person.
+ What if I'm not a Christian?
Our doors and our hearts are open to people of every faith, as well as to people who embrace no particular belief. We welcome Christians from any denomination, people of other religious faith or spirituality, and people who consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics. As professional counselors, our work is focused on guiding people with life changing solutions that work.
+ Do you force religious beliefs on clients?
Not at all. When we describe our counseling as being rooted in Biblical truth, that means our understanding of the world and the challenges people encounter is shaped by our personal faith. Through our relationship with God, we see hope and joy, and we believe we have been called to help other people overcome challenges and walk in happiness and love. In simple terms, we seek to heal, not to convert.
+ Do you accept insurance?
We participate in a limited number of insurance networks, but will give you documentation you can use to file a claim with your health insurer. Most insurers cover a portion of the cost of out-of-network counseling, but you may need to obtain pre-approval. Please contact your insurance carrier for details. Please know in advance that insurance companies require clinicians to give a diagnosis for treatment.