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Counseling Q & A: What can I expect from counseling?

Most persons seek counseling because they want something to change in their lives. They may want to feel less depressed or anxious, learn how to handle problems differently, and/or improve their relationships. Counseling should give you a safe place to explore your thoughts and feelings and help you facilitate the changes you want in your life.

How do I know if I need counseling?

Not everyone “needs” counseling, but nearly everyone can benefit from it. The more your problems impact your daily life, the more necessary counseling becomes. Besides, like physical health, with mental health the sooner you address problems the more likely you’ll have positive outcomes.

Why can’t I just talk to a friend?

True friends are great! Feeling connected to others is a sign of mental health and a predictor of successful aging. Sometimes, however, a person can benefit from an objective third party listener who is trained in helping persons meet their mental health goals. Sometimes persons feel that the weight or complexity of what they face would be a “burden” to continually share with friends and they want an additional person to talk to.

How do I choose a counselor?

There are some obvious, practical considerations when choosing a counselor: Does this person take my insurance? Is their office convenient to where I work or live? Does the provider have times available that work for me? Is there someone – a friend, primary care physician – who can make a recommendation to me? Is there someone who has a specialty in the particular are for which I am seeking counseling?

How will I know if the counseling is working?

Clients usually have an initial “feel” for how the first session has gone. Does the provider seem to “get me” and understand my problems? Does the counselor listen well and provide information or suggestions I can use? It is normal to want immediate relief from your concerns but the benefits from counseling do not always come as quickly as you would like. If you see some progress in thoughts, feeling or behaviors, the counseling is probably working.


Disclaimer: Information provided on these pages is general in nature and should not be used in place of individual counseling.