What to Expect from Counseling

Many people are afraid to come to a counseling session because they find it too intimidating. I can't blame them. Heck, I find it difficult to go to the doctor when I am feeling sick and can't go to work. So, it is a new experience and often provokes some natural anxiety.

Your first session is the hardest and it gets easier from there!

Here are some of the questions I've been asked:

* Am I any less of a man for coming to counseling?
No. If counseling weren't manly, I wouldn't be doing it! I'll tell you that its much more manly to deal with your problems, compared to being too proud and trying to handle everything yourself. This way of thinking usually makes things a lot worse.

* Are you trying to find a mental illness?
No, I'm not. I want to talk with you in order to gain an understanding of both the problems you want to work on, where those problems are coming from, and what is going RIGHT in on your life. Yes, its important to talk about the successes in your life and not just dwell on the negatives.

* Will you want to spend all the time discussing my childhood.
No, I want to help you work on what you came here to address. I find it to usually be a waste of time to have an emphasis on the past. It is over and done with. There may be times that it needs to be understood, but having a primary focus on the past is often frustrating on the client and does little good. Lets focus on the here and now, which will likely help you feel better quickly!

* Do I have to be mentally ill in order to go to Counseling?
What? No. Counseling is to help people work though problems. If you had to be mentally ill to have a problem, then we'd all be crazy as loons. There is no shame in seeking an outsider's view on a problem you have. Actually, its a sign of good mental hygiene!

* How long will this take? Will I be in therapy for years?
Most people finish up their counseling sessions within 10 sessions or less. This is because we focus on the here and now. I also give homework assignments, so people can get more value out of their counseling. That is, they are able to work on their counseling when they are outside my office. This means that you will obtain quicker results and have less money invested. If you happen to take more than 10 sessions, don't worry about it. It goes back to how everybody is different and not everyone moves at the same pace.

* Are you a mind-reader?
No. I wish I was! You'll have to tell me why you are coming in and a little bit about yourself. :)

* Is this confidential?
Yes. What we discuss does not go beyond you and I, unless you give written permission for me to disclose information about your sessions, such as if you are referred by probation, a lawyer, and so on. The only time I can tell anyone your business is if you are going to kill yourself, you are going to hurt someone, there is child abuse, or a judge orders me to disclose your information.

* Is this anonymous?
No. Others may see you walk into my office. So, you could be seen. No one would know your business, though. If you feel that you could not risk being see at my office, some coaching via telephone or email is an option. That is pretty anonymous.

* What types of counseling do you do?
I specialize in anger management, anxiety, and sexuality of various types (such as transgender, sexual orientation, sexual dysfunction, sexual harassment, sexual addiction, and sexual questions in general). However, I also work with depression, bipolar disorder and a variety of issues. I do individual, group, family, and couples counseling.

* Do I need medication?
Counseling is the primary focus. A high number of people get better by therapy alone. Changing your thinking and your behavior usually is enough for people to return to functional lives. However, if therapy is not working, then we will discuss referring you to have a medication evaluation. Medication alone often masks symptoms and does not get at the root of the problem.

* Will you fix me?
No, I will not. However, I will help you fix yourself. I can give you ideas, you can bounce things off me, we can work together to find solutions. However, I cannot make things better for you. Remember, you are the one who needs to do the hard work and I can help.

* What is your primary focus on therapy?
I want to talk about what is on your mind. You are the one that guides the conversation. I can provide some information and direction and information, if needed. However, I really want you to be the one who is running the show.

Do you have any additional questions that I have not answered? Leave a comment and I'll respond.

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