Home of solution focused therapy in grand rapids, MI
Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling
I’ve never been to counseling before; how does it work?
Many people have questions about counseling before they try it. This is one of the most common questions about counseling that I get. Most people are nervous when they first come to counseling. You’re not sure what to expect or what I’ll ask you to talk about. Within a few minutes you realize it’s a lot like having a conversation about a problem with a friend. I ask you questions to help you figure out what you want to be different, and get as clear a picture as you can about what changes you want to make. I ask a lot of questions about what I call exceptions–the things that are happening when the problem isn’t happening, or those times when the problem was less severe. This helps us figure out what things you can do differently to make the changes you want in your life.
I use a form of counseling called Solution Focused Counseling. For more information on this for of counseling, you can check out the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association and find more information.
What kind of people go to counseling?
I see all kinds of people and families in counseling and they all turn out to be just regular people with some kind of problem or situation they want to deal with. I see moms, dads, husbands, wives, kids, teens, college students, professors, teachers, carpenters, business owners, and so on. There’s no real classification of people who go to counseling. I like to think the ones who go to counseling are the smart ones because they get some assistance with their concern, make adjustments, and get on with life. I like to think of it as coaching because if you think about the coach/athlete relationship, athletes already have the skills and strengths they need to do the job; the coach just helps them put those talents to the best use so they can perform better and achieve their objectives.
What’s the difference between counseling, therapy, and psychotherapy?
There’s no real difference between the terms therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy. They all refer to the process of using “talk therapy” to help you overcome a problem or concern. I generally use the term “counseling” and “therapy” interchangeably. I tend to prefer the word “counseling” because to me, the word “therapy” kind of implies there’s something wrong with the client, whereas “counseling” suggests the therapist isn’t exactly an expert on your life, but may be able to guide you in the right direction.
Can I call and talk to you before I make a counseling appointment?
Yes, most people do this, in fact. You should get your questions about counseling answered satisfactorily before you choose a therapist. Most people want to get a feel for whether they would be comfortable getting counseling from me before they make a decision about counseling. Or, they just want to know a little more about me and how I work before they make an appointment. Feel free to contact me to ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.
How long does counseling take?
That depends on the concern you have and how motivated you are to make changes. However, most of my clients are ready to proceed on their own after anywhere from one to eight sessions. There’s no guarantee, of course, some concerns are more complicated than others and it may take more time to sort things out.
How much does counseling cost?
One of the most common questions about counseling is “How much does it cost?” The short answer is that it’s affordable. I prefer to check your insurance for you before you come in so you know exactly what the counseling will cost you. If you have an insurance that I work with, typical copays are around $30 per session, sometimes less, sometimes more. Therapy/counseling costs may also depend on whether you have a deductible. I can let you know what your copay and/or deductible are so you know how much you’ll have to pay before you start counseling. If I don’t take your insurance, I have a sliding fee scale and let you know what your counseling per-session charge will be before you come in for your first appointment.
How soon can I get in to see you?
Usually I can get you in for your first counseling session within a few days, depending on your schedule and mine.
What kinds of problems do you provide counseling for?
I counsel a lot of people and families with a lot of different concerns. Some people worry their problem is either so big or “strange” that a counselor won’t want to deal with them, or that their problem is too “small or trivial” and don’t want to bother a counselor with it. No problem is too big or too small, however, there are times when I know of another therapist who specializes in your concern and might refer you to him or her. I counsel people to find solutions to many problems including depression, grief, anxiety, stress, family concerns, parent-child problems, divorce, job and school related stress, Aspergers Syndrome, relationships, etc.
What insurances do you accept?
Currently, I accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Priority Health, Blue Care Network, AETNA, and UBH. If I don’t take your insurance, I have a sliding fee scale that makes counseling affordable for most people. I also get on provider panels for new insurance companies as they open their enrollment, so keep checking back to see if I accept your insurance.
What age groups do you provide therapy for?
I counsel mostly teens, adults, and families. I do see younger children on occasion; however, quite often with younger children, I find it best to counsel the parents to effect changes with the children. I typically counsel adults up to about age 65, but there’s no magic cut-off age. If I think I can help with your problem, I’ll certainly be glad to do so, regardless of age or other factors.
I’m thinking of a divorce, or going through one, can you provide counseling for me or my kids?
Yes. I provide counseling for lots of adults who are trying to decide whether to get divorced or not, or are worried about how divorce or marital discord is affecting their children. It can be helpful for children to have a counselor to talk to during and after a divorce so they can talk about how it impacts them and develop coping strategies for dealing with all the changes that a divorce brings.
Do you counsel people with High Functioning Autism/ Asperger’s Syndrome?
Absolutely. As a school social worker, I counseled lots of teens with Asperger’s syndrome and still enjoy working with both teens and adults with Aspergers. I also counsel parents and spouses of people with Aspergers.
If your questions about counseling and how it works are not answered here, please feel free to call me at 616-914-9874 or use the contact page on this website to submit your question via email.