Do you have some questions about counseling?

What are Counseling and Psychotherapy? 

Counseling and Psychotherapy are terms that are used interchangeably today. Individuals, couples, and families meet together with a therapist in a respectful atmosphere to discuss difficulties, problems, and issues the client is concerned about. Any question that is of concern can be brought to a therapist to discuss. Of ten people know something is wrong but aren't sure what it is. While there are some exceptions, (see the question what is confidential, and from whom?) therapists are bound by confidentiality and cannot give information about the client without a signed release. The outcome of psychotherapy varies widely depending on what the client is looking for. Some people seek therapy for a specific problem, while some want to change and understand a more general personal feeling.

How do I know if I need to see a therapist? 

People often wonder if the trouble they are having needs professional help especially when their problems seem to be those of ordinary living. When you find that talking things over with usually helpful friends, spouse, pastor, rabbi,etc. does not help and the problem persists, or when reading self-help books seems to give you great ideas but none work, or when everything you try works only temporarily or not at all, it can often be useful to get a professional consultation and then decide whether therapy might offer a new way to understand and tackle the trouble you face. Treat your first meeting or two as a consultation and let the therapist know that you are trying to figure out whether to pursue therapy.

Do you take Insurance? 

Medical insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse is often different from the coverage you are familiar with for general medical problems. You will need to check whether your policy covers mental health, and whether your policy allows you to see a clinician of your choosing, or whether you are required to see someone on your insurance company's panel of providers. Call your insurance company to clarify your policies requirements, limitations, deductibles, and co-payments. For further information call us.

I've never done this, how does it work? 

When you call A Safe Place to Heal, you may get our phone voice mail. Please leave your name and number and one of us will call you back directly within the same day. In a brief phone discussion, we will ask you what you are looking for, what time of day you are available for an appointment, and determine whether we have a therapist who is covered by your insurance. Then, we will check to see which therapist is most appropriate for your situation, who also has time open that fits your schedule. The one who is appropriate for you will then call you to set up an appointment. If none of us is available, we will try to help you find someone else in your area.

How does it work with children? 

Generally, for children up to about age 14, a therapist will meet with the parents first. Some clinicians meet with the parents and the child together, and some meet with the parents and child separately. Some have the whole family come in even though there is a particular child that is of concern. After 14, for some children it is best to meet with the child first. Any of this can be discussed with the particular therapist you will be seeing. After the initial meeting we will talk with you about the next steps for treatment and what we hope to accomplish in our time together, so that both you and your child know what to expect.

Marital Counseling: How does it work? 

We recommend that couples seeking marriage counseling see a therapist specifically experienced in working with couples. Usually couples are seen together for the first meeting. After the initial appointment a treatment plan is worked out that suites the needs of the couple. Often both partners continue to see the therapist together, but there are occasions when either or both members of the couple will have separate meetings with the therapist. As in any treatment, if the plan the therapist recommends does not feel right, be sure to ask for clarification.

What is confidential? And from whom? 

In general, if you are being seen individually, what you tell your therpaist is kept confidential and cannot be released without written permission. There are some important exceptions that you will discuss with your therapist. For example, we are required by law to report suspicion of child abuse and possible homicide. Also, if you are involved in a court proceeding about custody or divorce, the family court Judge can subpoena our records, and we cannot refuse to release the records. If you are concerned about any of these, you should discuss this in detail with your therapist so that you are fully informed. 

Parents have specific questions about confidentiality out of their concern for their children's welfare. On the one hand, they know that the therapist must maintain confidentiality so that their child can trust the therapist. On the other hand, they are responsible for their child's well being. This is particularly tricky when the child is a teenager. We have worked with children and teenagers extensively and are happy to discuss the details of what information is shared and how to balance these two concerns. 

Finally, when a couple or family is being seen, sometimes a member wants to share information with the therapist but not with the other family members. Please discuss this with whomever you are seeing. The issues are complicated and important.


How long will therapy take? 

While people want to be able to plan ahead, this question cannot be answered in general. It is better addressed after a consultation.  The truth is that you will know when you feel better.