During our sessions, you can count on me to be very interested in listening to your concerns and in helping you develop a better understanding of them and how to deal with them more effectively. I will take you seriously and want you to feel safe enough to openly discuss anything you wish to discuss. I am open to all and any questions that you may have about what we are doing and why, so by all means ask. Unfortunately, I do not have any “magical skills” or knowledge that will instantly fix your situation and I cannot solve your problems directly. We will work together and collaborate on goals and solutions. There will be times I go over handouts during sessions and ask you to do “homework.” Other times I will be offering support and encouragement as we spend time talking and processing old and new understandings.
Your responsibilities in counseling:
Your main responsibility is to attend your regularly scheduled sessions and talk about what is bothering you as openly and honestly as you can. I also expect you to complete tasks or “homework” assignments that we agree on. Please give me a 24 hour notice if you are unable to attend your session to avoid a charge, as well as to allow someone else on the wait list the possibility of getting in sooner. I encourage you to tell me if you are not making progress or if you are uncomfortable in any way. It is equally nice to hear if you share when you are benefiting from a particular technique or session.
Common difficulties in counseling:
One of the most difficult steps in counseling is the decision to see a counselor for the first time or returning to counseling after many years. Either way, the decision is the first step in change. Once this decision has been made, the mechanics for change have already been set into motion. In the process of changing the way you feel, think and behave, you must try out new ways of doing things. This can bring about anxiety and frustration. I may also challenge you to think in very different ways than you are accustomed to. With commitment and practice, you will find that you can stretch your limitations and find new and exciting aspects of yourself.
How to benefit from counseling:
Be ready to focus on a specific problem or issue. Be prepared for your session. Attend your sessions and take an active part in them by participating and completing assignments. Start a journal and keep track of things that come up during the week that you would like to process further in counseling. Journaling is an excellent way to help you remember what you want to focus on during the next session, what you got out of the last session and an easy way to keep track of your moods, medication changes, insights, stuck points, and successes for the week. Journaling will be discussed in detail in the first session.
Having taken that crucial first step to seek help, you may have some questions about therapy. You may wonder, for example, about sharing information that is very private – will it be kept confidential? What is the best way to go about finding the right therapist?
You can rest assured that all mental health professionals are ethically bound to keep what you say during therapy confidential. However, therapists also are bound by law to report information such as threats to blow up a building or to harm another person, for example.
Therapy is a collaborative process, so finding the right match – someone with whom you have a sense of rapport – is critical. You may have to shop around before you find someone you are comfortable with. After you find someone, keep in mind that therapy is work and sometimes can be painful. But it also can be rewarding and life changing.
Whether you seek help from a marriage and family therapist, a social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatric nurse, or a psychiatrist, the steps to choosing the right mental health practitioner for you will basically be the same.
See your primary care physician to rule out a medical cause of your problems. If your thyroid is “sluggish,” for example, your symptoms – such as loss of appetite and fatigue – could be mistaken for depression.
After you know your problems are not caused by a medical condition, find out what the mental health coverage is under your insurance policy or through Many employer-sponsored insurance policies have limits on mental health services and may cover only 50 percent of the costs of a fixed number of visits per year.
Addiction and Recovery
Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families
Eating Disorders Anonymous
Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous
National Institute on Drug Abuse
SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse/Addiction
SAMHSA’s Treatment and Recovery
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
Web of Addictions
Associations & Institutes
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Association of Christian Counselors
American Counseling Association
American Mental Health Counselors Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama
Association for Psychological Science
Canadian Mental Health Association
Center for Mental Health Services
Florida Certification Board
Florida Mental Health Counselors Association
National Institute of Mental Health
Mental Health America
South Florida Association of Christian Counselors
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
SAMHSA’s Children and Families
SAMHSA’s Protection and Advocacy
Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse
The National Domestic Violence Hotline Website
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
DSM-IV-TR: Diagnoses and Criteria
Dissociation and Traumatic Stress
Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute
Journals & Magazines
Anxiety, Stress and Coping
Depression and Anxiety
Drug and Alcohol Review
Early Child Development and Care
Journal of Gambling Studies
Journal of Happiness Studies
Journal of Mental Health and Aging
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Language and Cognitive Processes
Loss, Grief & Care
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
Metaphor and Symbol
Personality and Individual Differences
Psychology of Men & Masculinity
Stress and Health
Studies in Gender and Sexuality
Trauma, Violence & Abuse
Medications and Health Supplements
Drug Interactions, Drugs.com
Drug Interactions, DIRECT
Medication, Internet Mental Health
Mental Health Care General Links
Internet Mental Health
Let’s Talk Facts, APA
Mental Health Counselor Resources, About.com
Mental Help Net
University of Michigan Health Library
Web Sites You Can Trust, Medical Library Association