Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soul Survivor Counseling Services?

Soul Survivor Counseling Services is a privately owned counseling practice. We are staffed by professionals trained to help you acquire more effective skills for coping with the challenges and problems of living. Our staff is committed to meeting the special needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including differences of culture, race, gender, ability and sexual orientation.

Soul Survivor Counseling Services provides psychotherapy and counseling to people coping with educational, personal, and/or interpersonal issues; offers crisis intervention; and serves as a practicum site for students enrolled in masters-level clinical psychology and related programs.

The office provides sexual assault counseling and advocacy for teens and adults, and alcohol and drug information. The counseling staff is committed to helping people to realize their worth and potential. Counseling is conducted in a private setting, and all information remains confidential.

What is counseling?

Counseling can involve short-term problem resolution or longer, more intensive psychotherapy. It can be useful to those with mild difficulty in their lives as well as those with more serious or longstanding problems. A variety of concerns, such as abuse, sexual assault, relationships, self-image, depression, values, eating disorders, and alcohol or drug dependency can be discussed in counseling.

How do I know if I need counseling?

People seek counseling for a wide range of problems. For example, some people come to get help with a difficult decision and others come because they feel overwhelmed by the stressors in their lives. Some common reasons for coming to counseling include relationship problems, anxieties, feeling unusually sad, irritability, sleep problems, eating problems, having a hard time paying attention, feeling lonely, suicidal thoughts, and worrying too much. If you are not sure that you need counseling but think it might help, give us a call and try it out.

How do I get started?

The best way to start is to schedule an appointment and complete necessary forms. You can come to Soul Survivor Counseling Services to complete these steps. If you have any questions, feel free to call our helpful front desk staff at (701) 258-2008.

How much does counseling cost?

Please refer to our Rates and Insurance page for further information.

Can you prescribe medications?

Only physicians can prescribe medications. If you already have a relationship with a physician, your counselor will be happy to consult them. Your therapist will be able to help you monitor the effectiveness of medications your physician prescribes in order to help you and your physician find the right medication for you.

What about confidentiality?

Soul Survivor Counseling Services are confidential. We will not give any information to anyone without your written consent. Our records are defined as confidential medical records by both state and federal law. We keep records for seven years, and then they are shredded. There are a few exceptions to the rules of confidentiality. These include cases of child or elder abuse or neglect, court orders to release information, or situations where we believe the client is a serious and immediate danger to self or others. Please feel free to discuss your questions about privacy and confidentiality with your counselor.

What kinds of things do people seek help for?

People seek counseling for a variety of reasons including feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, worried, sad, or angry. People also seek out counseling to help change behaviors that are troubling them including addictive or disordered behaviors or behaviors that affect their relationships at home or at work. Some people seek counseling because they have a life goal that has been eluding them and they are ready to explore their barriers. Other people seek out counseling because they know they are going through a difficult time or facing a difficult decision and they desire a place to sort through their feelings and move forward in their life with intention and clear thinking.

How does counseling help?

When a counseling relationship is working well, clients experience new insights into their situations, clearer thinking, increased energy, better understanding of their feelings and needs, release of troubling emotions that have held them back or been confusing, and a greater sense of wholeness and peace within themselves. Therapy is a process, and a working partnership develops between client and therapist. Therapy is not always comfortable or straightforward as difficult emotions and ways of being often have to be sorted through in order for new energy and change to appear. Clients should feel comfortable with their therapist and be able to ask about whatever is on their mind regarding the process. In spite of the uncomfortable emotions experienced, clients I have worked with feel that the temporary pain of the working through process is well worth leaving behind the continual pain of living the way they had previously.

Do you work with couples and families?

Yes, our practice includes work with individuals, couples, and families.

What can I expect at the first session?

You can expect to talk about the concern(s) that brought you into counseling and also about your background and personal history. You can share on a level that feels comfortable for you. You can also expect to have some brief paperwork to fill out.

How long does a counseling session take?

Sessions are typically scheduled for 50 minutes and most people see their counselor once a week for consistent progress to be made.

What will a typical appointment be like?

During your first appointment for counseling your counselor will need a summary of the problems or questions that have brought you to counseling in order to work with you to establish goals and an appropriate treatment plan for your counseling. Adults will meet alone with the counselor. Children and adolescents will usually have some time with the parent present and some time alone with the counselor; a session that allows observation of and discussion among family members may also be held. The counselor will want to hear your history, including: family history and dynamics, significant relationships, work, substance use, cultural background, major losses, traumas, medical issues and any other information that may prove helpful. Parents will be asked to provide information about their child’s developmental history, schooling and social relationships, as well as other information that may be relevant to the difficulties the child is experiencing.

If your referral question is very specific (for example, a fear of flying) one session will usually be enough to provide the necessary information to develop a treatment plan. If it is more complicated (for example, serious marital conflict or a long history of unsuccessful relationships) more time will be needed for the two of you to develop a plan. Though the first session may be more than an hour, subsequent sessions will be 50 minutes. This leaves your counselor 10 minutes to take notes and prepare for his or her next appointment. Although your counselor will likely ask questions and lead the discussion during the first appointment it is important for you to take the lead as much as possible in future appointments. Your counselor will often wait to see if you have important issues you would like to bring up in any given session. It is a good idea for you to report on progress or setbacks and to let your counselor know of any significant events since your last appointment, and provide honest feedback to the counselor regarding your treatment.

What should I do if I am not satisfied with something about my counseling?

The most important thing to remember in counseling is that you are in charge! If you are not satisfied in any way, bring up your questions or frustrations with your counselor. Your counselor may be able to make changes to satisfy your concerns. It is important that a counselor and client “fit” well together and your counselor will want to know of your frustrations so that he or she can attempt to improve your relationship. Psychotherapy/counseling often stirs up powerful feelings. The themes and patterns from other areas of your life may show up in therapy. Please be open and honest with your counselor about such feelings. He or she has been trained to understand such feelings and not to take them personally. If you and your counselor are not able to resolve your differing expectations to your satisfaction, your counselor will assist in helping to assign you to someone new, within or outside our agency. We work carefully to affiliate with only the most ethical and competent professionals. However, in the event that you feel that your care has been inadequate or that your counselor or another staff member has behaved unethically or unprofessionally please notify the clinic director or the executive director. We certainly want to know of your concerns and will take them seriously.

How often should I come to counseling?

Most people find that they achieve greater results with greater frequency of appointments, especially in the beginning. This means that your counselor will probably suggest that you meet weekly. As you experience progress toward your goals you, and your counselor may decide to meet less frequently, but often enough to maintain progress. When goals have been reached, many clients like to come occasionally, to prevent relapse, until new patterns are firmly established in their life. Your insurance provider may have restrictions about frequency or maximum number of appointments; please familiarize yourself with any such requirements. And, like a family doctor, we are here for you if you should need us again in the future for help with another problem. Feel free to discuss your preferences for frequency with your counselor at any time.

How long will I need to be in counseling?

There is no single answer to this question. Many people fear that they will become dependent on counseling and that they will never want to stop. Other people fear that their counselor will try to keep them coming longer than they want to. It is important that you be open with your counselor about any such fears or expectations. It is important that you know that you are in charge of your counseling. When you feel that you have accomplished as much as you want from counseling please let your therapist know and the two of you will plan for termination of treatment. For some people that may take as little as a few sessions. Others may continue for months or years, often with increased periods of time between appointments. We recommend that you follow through with counseling until you have accomplished the goals that you and your counselor discussed at the beginning. If you find at any time that you would like to terminate your counseling we do recommend that you schedule at least one last appointment to discuss your progress and how to maintain it in the future.