How can counseling help me?
Counseling can help you understand your life in a new way, help you to feel different than the way you have been feeling, and help you make new choices about how you want to live your life. Working with a therapist gives you a safe space to talk about issues concerning you. Talking through concerns is incredibly powerful because it actually brings about changes in your brain – neurobiological changes that are in fact scientifically measurable. By participating in a therapeutic relationship, you can feel healthier in mind, body, and spirit.
What is counseling like?
Counseling is an opportunity for you to explore issues important to you by talking with another individual who has been trained to listen and help you reflect and learn. Because everyone has different issues going on in their lives, counseling will be different for everyone. In general, you can expect to discuss recent experiences, personal history relevant to the issue being discussed, and how topics discussed have affected you since the previous counseling session. Depending on your needs, counseling can be short-term or long-term. It can focus on one specific issue or it can help you explore patterns that appear in your life in various ways.
The ultimate purpose of counseling is to help you apply what you learn in session to your day-to-day life. Sometimes, a therapist may suggest things you can do outside of therapy sessions to support the processes of change in your life, such as reading a relevant book, journaling, monitoring thoughts and feelings, and taking action on goals.
Do I really need counseling? I usually can figure out problems on my own.
Counseling is not always about dealing with problems or hardships. Sometimes, counseling can be about growing to a new level. Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and there is nothing wrong with seeking out extra support or just spending time on reflecting what works for you so that you have a better idea of how to apply your strengths in many areas of your life. Therapy is for people who are open to making positive changes, interested in new perspectives, and willing to take responsibility for their lives. It takes a lot of self-awareness to realize when you may benefit from a helping hand, and it is something to be admired. Counseling can provide long-lasting benefits by adding to your repertoire of coping tools and expanding emotional intelligence.
What about medication?
There are many psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics, that can make an impact on the pain we feel. However, research has established that there are significant benefits to psychotherapy that may not be achieved by medication alone. Instead of just treating a symptom, counseling addresses the causes of distress and the behavior patterns that curb progress. Often times, a combination of psychiatric medication and therapy is needed to achieve a sustainable sense of well-being, but this does not mean medication is always needed or will be needed indefinitely. Counselors do not prescribe psychiatric medications, but often work closely with providers who do prescribe these medications.
Is counseling the same as therapy?
Counseling is a term that describes a specific professional approach to therapy. Therapy is offered by a range of practitioners (including professional counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists) and in a variety of ways. Counselors are unique because they focus on providing services that emphasize wellness and have a strong foundation in social justice. Rather than take a problem-oriented view, counselors operate by trying to understand your perspective on your concerns and working with you to build skills and apply your strengths. We follow a code of ethics outlined by the American Counseling Association and are licensed to practice by individual states.
Do you accept insurance, and how does that work?
Yes, you can utilize health insurance to cover the cost of counseling sessions. If your counselor is an in-network provider with your plan, you are typically only responsible for a portion of costs. If your counselor is not in your plan’s network and you have out-of-network coverage, you would pay for services up front until your deductible is met, then the insurance company will begin to pay a portion or all of the cost.
We can help you verify your benefits. You can also call the Member Services on your insurance card to ask any questions you may have. Here are some questions to ask about your mental health benefits:
- Do I have a copay, and if so how much is it?
- Do I have a deductible, and if so, how much is left to pay?
- Do have coinsurance, and if so, what percent of cost is my responsibility?
- Is the provider I want to see considered in network?
- Do I have out of network coverage for mental health?
- Is there a limit on the number sessions that are covered?
- Do I need a referral or prior authorization to see an outpatient mental health provider?
Does everything we talk about remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- If the therapist has reason to suspect past or present abuse or neglect of children, vulnerable adults, or elders based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
Aside from these rare exceptions, your therapist cannot release information without obtaining your written permission to anyone else for any reason. When you begin counseling, you will receive a written copy of the therapist’s confidential disclosure agreement. This is called “Informed Consent.”
What should I bring to my first appointment?
Foremost, you should bring an open mind. If possible, spend some time ahead of the session thinking about what you would like to talk about and any questions you may have. Additionally, you will be asked to complete intake forms through an online secure client portal prior to attending your session. If you are using insurance benefits, you can bring your insurance card to your first appointment.
Meet with a Counselor
To schedule an appointment, call us at (516) 256-9523, or use the button below to make an online request using our secure client portal.