“The unexamining life is not worth living for a human being.”
Commonly Asked Questions about Counseling and Therapy.
Why Seek Counseling?
There are many reasons to seek support from a caring, trained professional therapist. Some include:
These are just a few of many reasons why people seek out therapy. Therapy is beneficial to anyone who wants to get the most out of life by developing self-awareness, taking responsibility, and moving toward positive change. A good therapist can help foster insight, teach coping skills, and, above all, provide support and a non-judgmental listening ear when needed most. The very question of whether you need to talk to someone may be a good sign that you will benefit from it.
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What Can I Expect From Therapy?
What Can Therapy Do For Me?
Sometimes a listening ear can work wonders. Therapy is primarily about the relationship – having a non-biased, compassion, respectful someone in your corner to listen, relate, and reflect. Therapy can also be about growth and change, and can sometimes involve being challenged (respectfully), given effective techniques and interventions, and being asked to feel feelings that can be painful and difficult (within the safety of the relationship). But through hard work and dedication, you can:
For further information read: Does Talk Therapy Really Work? by F.D. Barth, (Psychology Today, 11/2010)
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Is What I Say Kept Confidential?
Counselors are bound by the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, the Code of Ethics for the states in which they are licensed, and by HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) privacy laws to ensure protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure of your confidential information will be made only with your full written, informed consent and will be limited to a specific situations and period of time as laid out in the Release of Information that you sign.
There are some limits to confidentially. Oregon Counseling Board Code of Ethics dictates the following exceptions:
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How Do I Choose a Therapist?
There are a lot of philosophies and methodologies within mental health, and several different educational tracks for therapists (counseling, social work, psychology, psychiatry, art therapy, etc). Each has a somewhat different focus in education (i.e. counseling is focused more on the individual level whereas social work is often more focused on the societal/institutional level, psychologists often also conduct research as part of their training), but each kind of training has merit and can prepare a therapist for working with you.
Regardless of approach, philosophy, or methodologies, research has indicated that the relationship is the primary change agent in therapy. The primary question then becomes, "is this person someone I can work with? Is there the ability to trust this person and build rapport? Many clinicians, including myself, offer free or low-cost initial consultations so you can meet in person and "try them on." This is a time for you to ask questions, explain what you are looking for, and feel into the potential of relationship. Some things to consider and communicate on an initial session are:
What are you looking for in therapy?
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Kristine Nystrom, LPC, LMHCOnline therapy across Oregon and Washington