Here are answers to common questions about counseling with Laura Fleming.
Why do people seek counseling?
People come into counseling for many reasons. Some need assistance with responding to unexpected changes in their lives such as: divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc. Others seek out counseling for self-exploration and personal growth. Sometimes people seek out counseling services to acquire support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks.
What can I expect in a counseling session?
The good news is-when coping skills are overwhelmed by uncomfortable feelings like guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair; counseling can help. People seeking counseling are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 53 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the counseling sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For counseling to “work,” you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the counseling sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a Licensed Professional Counselor?
A number of benefits are available from participating in counseling. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Counseling can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find counseling to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. 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 counseling include: Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values Developing skills for improving your relationships Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek counseling Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures Improving communications skills – learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and develop new ones Discovering new ways to solve problems Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What if I don't know what my goals are for counseling?
If you aren’t sure what your goals are for counseling, then that will be our first task. Don’t worry, it may take several sessions to clarify a direction for counseling. During the course of counseling your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for counseling will help you get the most out of the experience.
There is a confusing array of insurance arrangements. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- Do I have mental health benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
- How much do you pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is there a limitation on how much you will pay per session? Is my primary care physician approval required?
- Do I need an authorization code?
- Do my benefits include EAP services?
I am a provider on a few provider panels. You will need to confirm with your insurance that I am a provider on your insurance. I change a lower fee than most of my colleagues to assist those of you who do not have mental health insurance or who own insurance that will not reimburse for my services.
What are EAP services?
Some employers offer an Employment Assistance Program (EAP). The good news is that these benefits provide counseling services to you at no cost! The bad news is that there are a limited number provided per calendar year (typically 3 to 8 sessions). For some clients, 3 counseling services are adequate to reach a resolution to their presenting problem. Other clients, choose to continue with counseling after their EAP services are utilizing their mental health insurance benefits or private pay.
Is counseling confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.
What to do first - How to begin counseling
The first step is to schedule an appointment for your initial session. The first session is an opportunity for you to decide if we are compatible for counseling. It is important for you to be able to build rapport with your counselor. It is also an opportunity for me to feel confident that I can help you with your concerns/issues. It is an opportunity for you to ask any questions about me and my approach to counseling. Before the first session, you need to download the New Client Counseling Packet from this website. Please complete these forms and bring them with you to your first session.