Frequently Asked Questions
What is Soul Survivor Counseling Services?
Soul Survivor Counseling Services is a privately owned counseling practice. We are staffed by licensed and trained professionals who can help you acquire more effective skills for coping with the challenges and problems that can arise throughout one’s lifetime. Our staff is committed to meeting the mental health needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including differences of culture, race, gender, ability, and sexual orientation.
What is counseling?
Counseling is often referred to as “talk therapy.” Your counselor is trained to implement a variety of research-based methods such as EMDR, CBT, DBT, REBT, Exposure Therapy, Behavior Modification, Solution Focused Therapy, and other techniques and tools tailored to address your concerns. Counselors are trained to look for patterns in your communication, decisions or behavior, and provide services to improve functioning and help break unhelpful and even harmful patterns. Counselors will address the thoughts, feelings, and actions connected to counseling goals for the best results. 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, chronic pain, and alcohol or drug dependency can be discussed in counseling.
Behavioral change occurs at the time when cognitive restructuring has been internalized, new belief systems developed, and barriers to healing have been successfully modified or eliminated. Behavioral change is most successful when clients create an environment to support behavioral change, including changing your lifestyle or daily habits.
Requirements for success if change/healing is the goal:
- Readiness – open to recommendations, belief in the process and therapist’s qualifications, and motivated to do what it takes.
- Willingness – open to confronting denial and committed to making necessary changes to achieve goals.
- Identification of goals – need to have specific goals to work toward for a focused treatment plan and to determine if counseling has been successful.
- Teamwork – therapy occurs in a setting generally one hour per week. Tasks, suggestions, and options are provided; however, the client is responsible for creating change and promoting growth outside of the counseling session. When providing counseling services to a minor, both parent(s) and children need to meet the above requirements for the best outcome.
How do I know if I need counseling?
People seek counseling for a wide range of problems. For example, some people attend to get help with a difficult decision and others attend 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. Give us a call and see if counseling is right for you!
How do I get started?
The best way to start is to call or email us and schedule an appointment. At the point of phone contact we will ask you a few questions to determine which counselor is the best fit for you. An appointment will be scheduled at that time and you will be able to opt in for electronic appointment reminders at that time. When you come in for your first appointment you will complete some introductory paperwork. Your first visit with the counselor is referred to as the “intake” appointment, meaning that the counselor will spend the appointment assessing your situation and your needs. Please call or email us if you have any further questions about getting started.
How much does counseling cost?
Please refer to our Rates and Insurance page for further information.
Can you prescribe medications?
Only physicians, physician assistants, or advanced practicing nurse practitioners can prescribe medications. If you already have a relationship with a prescribing medical provider your counselor will be happy to consult with them, and assist with monitoring the effects or benefits of medication as reported by you.
What about confidentiality?
All services provided at Soul Survivor Counseling Services are confidential and HIPAA compliant. 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 until you are 39 years old and your last date of service was 10 years ago. These thresholds are informed by law and allow for the greatest chance that your records will have no future value. 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 there is a potential imminent danger to the client 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 barriers to healthy living must be sorted through in order for new energy and progress to occur. Clients should feel comfortable with their therapist and be able to ask about whatever is on their mind regarding the process.
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?
The first session is called an “intake”. 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 60 minutes. Most people see their counselor once a week, especially at the beginning. The sessions become less frequent as progress is 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. Minors will usually have some time with the parent present and some time alone with the counselor. With your consent we may also hold a session that allows observation of and discussion among family members. 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 relevant information.
Though the first session may be more than an hour, subsequent sessions will be 60 minutes. Your counselor will often check in with you and wait to see if you have important issues you would like to bring up in any given session prior to implementing goal-oriented interventions. 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. You will always be encouraged to provide 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 tough 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 you find a new counselor, 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 your care has been inadequate or that your counselor or another staff member has behaved unethically or unprofessionally, please notify 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 often and taper the frequency of sessions to match your progress. When goals have been reached, many clients like to come occasionally to prevent relapse and 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 such requirements. More importantly, we are here for you should you want to resume counseling in the future. 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 are 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.