General Counseling FAQ’s
What is counseling?
The American Counseling Association (ACA) defines counseling as a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
Counseling is appropriate for children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing difficulties in interpersonal relationships (e.g., conflicts with family, friends, or co-workers), emotional struggles, and/or life changes or transitions. Counseling is also appropriate for people who are interested in facilitating personal growth or making changes in their lives.
What is the difference between a counselor and a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mental disorders interact with the body and how they interact with other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy but they primarily provide medication management. Counselors are licensed professionals that have earned a Master’s or Doctorate degree specializing in understanding mental health. They provide counseling and do not prescribe medication.
Should I take medication or go into counseling?
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, counseling addresses the cause 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 medical doctor and your counselor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of both medication and therapy is the right course of action.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
On the contrary. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason are not working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, we will help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. A counselor is able to provide an objective viewpoint that your friends and family members may be unable to offer. Furthermore, therapy is confidential (see next question). We would like you to feel safe in discussing things that are personal to you.
Are my sessions confidential?
We protect your privacy and hold the information you share during your counseling sessions confidential. All counselors with Bloom adhere to the ethical guidelines of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and legal requirements of the Louisiana Licensed Professional Board of Examiners. There are, however, some exceptions to confidentiality. Counselors are required to release certain information in situations in which there is potential harm to yourself or others, in instances of child abuse, or as a result of a court order. Whereas these types of events are extremely rare, you should know that these possibilities exist.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals, therapy will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs. 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 therapy session.
How long will it take?
Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development and growth. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular weekly sessions initially, and then space them out as you see progress.
If I commit to therapy, what can I expect? How can I get the most out of therapy?
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions back into your life.