I have been doing professional counseling for about 20 years, and there are some common questions that potential new clients ask regarding counseling. I would like to answer some of these common questions.
How does counseling work?
Counseling sessions are normally one hour in length, yet the first session, I like to meet with the new client for an hour and a half. In the first session, I would interview you to identify the severity of the problem, explain how I approach counseling and propose an initial plan. For example, if a client has a problem with a bad temper, I might suggest that the new client attend 4 more individual sessions to learn to manage anger more effectively. The first session is an hour and a half, and all the follow up counseling sessions are an hour.
What type of counseling do you provide?
I generally do individual counseling and marriage counseling. Common issues that I help individuals are overcoming anxiety, coping with depression, defeating substance abuse and other compulsive behaviors. Marriage counseling is very important to me because if I can help save a marriage, I will be assisting in saving a family. Sometimes I will see the couple together in each session, or sometimes I will see them individually in combination with couples counseling. One area that is challenging, yet very fulfilling, is helping a married couple work through the healing process of infidelity. If both parties are willing to heal from this type of rupture in a relationship, healing is possible.
Do you offer evening sessions?
I work the standard workday, Monday through Friday, beginning at 9am and my last session is 4pm. I have an Associate that does evening hours. Generally, she does sessions at 6p, 7p and 8p in the evening. She also provides counseling sessions on Saturday. I work 1 to 2 Saturdays a month from my home office in Gonzales.
Do you take insurance?
Unfortunately, I do not take insurance. Upon request, I do provide clients with a Statement of Services, and the client can file directly with the insurance company. I encourage clients to realize that counseling is an investment in themselves, and the benefits last a lifetime. The healing, communication skills, growth and freedom that come from the counseling process have a lifetime benefit that is truly an investment in oneself.
Do you just listen or are you active in the process?
I am very active in the counseling process. There is a form of counseling that is rooted in passive listening. I believe in being a good listener, yet I believe in actively engaging with my clients. I often give reading assignments, homework, and encourage practicing new skills in your daily life. I want to see changes, positive results and tangible benefits. In order for things to be different, the client must do things differently.
How many sessions do I need to attend?
The number of sessions needed depends on how severe the problem is. Sometimes, I may see a client 3 sessions, and we have resolved the problem. Sometimes, I have seen a client on a weekly basis for a year to cope with a problem or transition. There is no set time, yet my main goal is to teach you the skills you need in order to do it on your own. My job is to work myself out of a job, by teaching the clients the skills to manage on their own.
Professional Counseling can be a very enriching experience that can help you through major difficulties and transitions. I hope that I have answered your question, yet if I did not, feel free to call my office at 225-290-7252, and I will be happy to assist you.