Answers to the questions I hear most often
- Do I really need counseling?
- Couldn’t I just talk to a friend?
- Shouldn’t I be strong enough to do it on my own?
- I’m afraid of counseling. What if I find out things about myself that I don’t want to know?
- I like who I am. Is counseling going to change me into a different person?
- What happens during the counseling sessions?
- How long does it take?
- How much does counseling cost?
Do I really need counseling?
Most people do not need counseling – it is a matter of choice. People come to me when they are depressed, or anxious, or just not getting as much out of life as they would like. They could go on for the rest of their lives as they are, but they would prefer not to.
Couldn’t I just talk to a friend?
Counseling is not like talking to a friend. Friends are incredible and irreplaceable. A friend will usually support you and take your point of view, no matter what. A few friends may offer keen insights. A therapist is also supportive, but a therapist can offer a systematic process that helps to change unwanted patterns and heal emotions that have kept you stuck.
Shouldn’t I be strong enough to do it on my own?
I don’t see it that way. Certainly a therapist isn’t going to tell you what to do. You will still be an autonomous human being, in charge of your own destiny. It actually takes a fair amount of courage and strength to look at oneself and to change old patterns of behavior. I have the utmost respect for people who choose that journey, and I do not see them as weak in any way.
I’m afraid of counseling. What if I find out things about myself that I don’t want to know?
This is a dilemma that keeps many from undergoing therapy. The key to understanding this barrier is the lack of criticism inherent in the counseling environment. Most of us are merciless toward ourselves when we come upon a perceived personal fault. In therapy, we are like scientists or detectives, impartially putting clues together to see how the pieces fit, and how the whole system functions. There is no negative judgment involved. We rejoice when we find a clue that fits – we don’t punish ourselves for it.
Similarly, we’re not into blaming others who have caused us pain. (They have their own stories.) When we put enough clues together, we have the understanding we need to make shifts in our own patterns, and we rejoice!
I like who I am. Is counseling going to change me into a different person?
Good! I’m glad you like who you are, and I don’t want you to become someone else. During and after therapy, you will still maintain your sense of humor, your taste in music, or whatever traits make you unique. We are actually working on changing restrictive patterns that keep you from being fully yourself. After therapy, you will still be who you are, only more so – happier, freer, and more loving toward yourself.
What happens during the counseling sessions?
In the first session, we spend most of our time getting to know each other. There are forms to fill out, and I learn a little about your history. You tell me your story, what is going on in your life now, and your concerns. We feel each other out emotionally. You decide whether or not you feel safe with me, and confident that your goals are achievable. I tell you about the different modalities I use, either during this visit or the next one. You get to experience some healing methods. Generally, people feel better when they leave the office than when they came in. Therapy can be fun, and laughter and warmth are an integral part of it. (You can learn more about what happens during the counseling sessions on the Healing page.)
How long does it take?
This, of course, is variable. Some folks, with a specific problem, may only need one or two sessions. Often, however, the desired behavior or outcome is clear, but why we aren’t following that path is rooted in habits and patterns from the past. These can take from six months to a year to understand and transform. Generally, I see people every two weeks. In some cases when there is an emergency, or when people are determined to make rapid progress, I will see them weekly. Sometimes at the end of therapy, when we are tapering off, it may go to once every month or two.
How much does counseling cost?
My charge per session (45-50 minutes) is $100.00. Health insurance typically covers most of the cost. I am on panel with all of the major insurance companies in this area. Co-pays generally range from $10.00 to $50.00, depending on your insurance plan. You can contact your insurance company directly to determine the exact amount of your co-pay.
© Copyright 2011-2013 Lisa M Brothwell PhD. All Rights Reserved.