How can counseling help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in counseling. Counselors can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Counselors can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from counseling depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek counseling
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communication and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, counseling is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand. That is a strength to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking counseling. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
People have many different motivations for coming to counseling. Some may feel “stuck” in a negative cycle within a relationship, and need to find a pathway to change it. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), and could use some guidance to navigate it. Some people are facing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Counseling can help bring clarity, encouragement, and new skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people who seek counseling are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and start making changes.
Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, counseling will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous counseling session.
Prayer will be offered, but you are free to decline if you wish. Christian faith, Bible, and prayer will be integrated into the counseling process to whatever extent you are comfortable with.
Depending on your specific needs, counseling can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your counselor (usually weekly or biweekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from counseling if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of counseling is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in counseling sessions, your counselor will suggest some things you can do outside of counseling to support your process – such as tracking thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, doing a take-home assignment with your spouse, reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, or taking action on your goals. People seeking counseling are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
Ill-health can be physical, emotional, relational, mental, and/or spiritual. The epistle to James says:
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:14, 15a, 16a)
Several elements for treating our various types of suffering are included in this passage:
- Calling on experienced support (“elders”)
- Prayer to the Lord (the true source of wellness and healing)
- Application of medicine (“anoint him with oil” – oil was often used as a medication)
- Faith (of the “elders” and the “sick person”)
- Counseling & honest sharing with a trusted other (“confess your sins to each other”)
In the arena of human health, the Bible does not call for an “either-or” stance regarding faith, counseling, and medicine.
Faith: There is a God who loves you and can bring true and lasting healing to your heart and soul. He is the real Counselor. Prayer, Bible study, worship, and application of faith are all crucial aspects to finding complete wholeness and emotional/psychological health. But these aren’t the only tools God gives us and expects us to use.
Counseling: The Trinity teaches us that for all eternity, God is a relational Being. Humans, as created in God’s image, are also relational beings. It is through relationships that we find so much of our health, enjoyment, and fulfillment of life. Counseling is the concerted application of human relationship to the healing of the heart, soul, and other parts of our being. Counseling works because the Creator made human beings to respond to the help of other human beings.
Medicine: Medication can sometimes be helpful when dealing with neurochemical imbalances that are leading to unhealthy emotional or psychological states. Just as a diabetic needs insulin to compensate for something his pancreas isn’t doing, so a clinically depressed or anxious person might need medicine to compensate for something his nervous system isn’t doing.
Integration: However, it is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, Christian counseling addresses the underlying causes of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your pastor, counselor, and medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in many cases a combination of medication, faith and counseling is the right course of action.
We do not bill insurances or other third-party payers. Payment in full is expected at the time of service. You may be able to submit your receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement depending on your carrier.
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful counseling requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the counseling office. Our Informed Consent form explains your rights and responsibilities in the counseling relationship (see Helpful Forms).
State law and professional ethics require counselors to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected abuse or neglect of children and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself, or has threatened to harm another person.
- My records are subject to subpoena by a judge for legal matters
If you desire for your counselor to share information with someone else (such as your Physician, Psychiatrist, Attorney), you must provide written consent. The Authorization for Release of Confidential Information form is for this purpose (see Helpful Forms).