How does talking to a professional help?  How is counseling different than talking to my friends and family, or working out problems on my own?

Whatever your personal concerns, a trained therapist can often offer a more objective and knowledgeable perspective than friends or family.  A counselor can help you see your situation more clearly, and offer options or suggestions you hadn't thought of.  Ultimately, counseling provides a safe and confidential environment to learn new skills, to make good decisions, to improve your confidence, and to eliminate unnecessary feelings of distress.  The result is feeling more free, effective and happy whether at home, school, work, or in your personal relationships.

What is Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)? How can it help me?

TF-CBT has been shown to improve individual trauma symptoms in a relatively short period of time. Research studies suggest that by the end of 12-16 treatment sessions, TF-CBT can resolve PTSD, depression, anxiety, behavioral difficulties, shame, and other problems.  Talking about the trauma, even though it may be hard, is an important ingredient in successful therapy. This aspect of therapy will be done gradually and in collaboration with families. Children will not be forced to talk about what happened.

Sometimes during the early phases of therapy, children will be more upset than before therapy began. They may complain of not liking therapy. But, over time, remembering and talking will become easier and they will begin to feel better.

Although TF-CBT is highly effective at improving youth posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and diagnosis, a PTSD diagnosis is not required in order to receive this treatment. TF-CBT also effectively addresses many other trauma impacts, including affective (e.g., depressive, anxiety), cognitive and behavioral problems, as well as improving the participating parent’s or caregiver’s personal distress about the child’s traumatic experience, effective parenting skills, and supportive interactions with the child.

What will happen when I come to counseling ?  What should I expect from the first meetings?

I will normally meet with you for 50 to 60 minutes for the first meeting.  At this first meeting you should already feel heard and understood.  This should provide some initial relief.  It typically takes one or two meeting just to hear your story and to let you and I get to know each other.

I will work to collaborate with you and develop a counseling plan that fits you.  Our goal is to choose a strategy or direction that feels comfortable to you.  During counseling, you are in charge and you are encouraged to set your own pace in order to feel fully supported.

How long will I have to go to counseling?

This question depends largely on you and the nature of the concerns you want to address.  Generally clients choose to go to counseling for one of three different reasons.

Some clients come with a single concern like consulting on a relationship issue, or brushing up on existing coping skills.  If you find yourself seeking counseling for similar single concerns you may find that only 6 to 8 sessions are needed.

Other clients may have more that one concern to address and research shows that developing completely new strategies or skills can take up to at least 12 to 16 meetings.  You will find this if you are seeing me for Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Depending on how often you want to talk, this type of counseling could last for 3 to 6 months.

Finally there are some clients that find they are still benefitting from counseling after a year or more.  Typically these long term clients are not coming in on a weekly basis, but instead continue to appreciate the periodic emotional support.

What is your confidentiality policy?

Counselors are bound by both state law and national ethical standards to keep your information private and confidential.  Here are some reasons that there may be exceptions:

-if you give written permission to exchange information (for example with your family physician)

-if the counselor believes that you are in immediate danger of committing suicide or otherwise seriously injuring yourself, or you are in immediate danger of physically harming another person.

-you share information about the abuse or neglect of a someone still under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult.

How do I set up an appointment?

Please call 949-8570 to make an appointment.  If I am unable to answer please leave me a message on my confidential voice mailbox.  I will return your call within 3 business days.  We will talk briefly about your concerns to make sure this feels like the right fit for you.  Remember the therapist and client relationship is one of the most important parts of therapy.  We will then schedule a time for you to come in.

Please note that email is never a secure form of communication.  To protect your confidentiality, I prefer you to contact me by phone.