We’ve talked about how to find a counselor in Wake Forest and we’ve covered ten questions to ask them. Now, you’ve found an amazing counselor who seems awesome. Now what? What is actually is counseling? Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about counseling in Wake Forest we hear all the time from our clients.
What is the difference between “counseling,” “therapy,” and “psychotherapy”?
Nothing. They are all words that mean the same thing when we’re talking about getting counseling. Lots of folks use them interchangeably, though that can be confusing for people! We generally use “therapy” or “counseling” in our practice.
What is my first counseling session like?
We can’t speak for every therapist, but we’ll tell you how it works with us. We have you complete all the paperwork through our secure portal and we’ve already reviewed it before you come in. The session itself is a conversation. We want to get to know you and help you craft some goals for us to work on together. You might come with some goals in mind and we might share some we hear from what you’re telling us. The session itself is like a conversation. At the end, if we both think it’s a good fit and you can meet your goals then we’ll schedule your next session.
How long does counseling last?
Here is the best response we can give – it depends. If you’ve had counseling in the past and are coming in to shore up some skills or work through a current issue it will take less time. If you’ve never seen a counselor before and you’ve had some really difficult experiences it may take more time. We encourage clients to plan for at least 12, weekly visits with us. We find twelve is enough sessions to get to know you and get you headed where you want to go. Sometimes by 12 sessions you’re done and you graduate and sometimes you need to come longer. We track your progress so we know for sure counseling is helping you. If it’s not we talk about it with you and, when needed, help you find someone who may be a better fit.
Do I have to take medicine to feel better? Do you prescribe medication?
Whether or not you take medication is a personal decision. Some people find it’s helpful and others prefer not to take anything. If we think it might be helpful for you to consider we’ll tell you. We don’t prescribe medications, but we can make a referral to an awesome psychiatrist who can do an evaluation and determine if medication might be helpful.
Is counseling confidential?
Yes, it is with a few caveats. Nothing is shared about you without your permission – even with a family member. You have to sign a release form so we can talk to anyone about anything, otherwise what you say to us stays between us. The exceptions to this are: You are a danger to yourself or someone else, you are abusing a child, or you are abusing an elderly person. In those instances we are required by law to report these things to the appropriate authorities. One other time we may have to share information is if a court requires that we do so (like a court order).
Do I have to be “mentally ill” to get counseling?
No, you don’t. Counseling can be very beneficial for a whole host of life’s struggles. Stress from changing jobs, sadness over losing someone close to you, struggles with relationships, and many other things lead people to seek counseling. We often recommend that most people go to counseling at least once in their lives. We all get caught up in our head and can use someone else’s perspective to help us sort through stuff. Counseling can give you a place to do that. And, when people come for counseling when something is just a little struggle it often does not become a big struggle. Think of it like preventive medicine.
Do I have to lay on the couch? Do you even have a couch?
Well yes, we do have a couch and no you don’t have to lay on it. Unless you want to. Then you totally can. A lot of therapists have couches in their office to help you have a comfortable space in which to work. What it isn’t, at least for us and many of the therapists we know, a sterile environment with us peering over our glasses at you. It’s a safe, welcoming space that’s more like a living room.
What else should I know?
Counseling isn’t all about struggle. We celebrate victories. We laugh. Can it be hard? Yeah – change is hard work. Sometimes we’ve been through hard things and they hurt to talk about. But counseling also can be a great joy and can actually be a whole lot of fun. Our clients are often surprised by how much we laugh together. In our office, change happens and joy that may have been lost returns.
We hope these FAQs about counseling in Wake Forest was helpful in understanding the counseling process. We have more FAQs about counseling in our Wake Forest office here. If you’d like to find out more about working with us, feel free to reach out at 919-891-0525 to schedule your free, 15-minute consultation. We’d love to see if we are a great fit for you and help you get your journey back to joy started!