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I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?


Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.


What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?


The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, counseling is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.


Why shouldn’t I just take medication?


Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.


How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?


Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs.


How long will it take?


Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.


I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?


We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success.

Does Growing Counseling Services offer online counseling sessions?

Absolutely. We offer both telephone counseling and video counseling sessions to clients who prefer online to in-person appointments. Contact us for more details.

How are Christian and Secular therapy different from each other?

Christian therapy uses a wide variety of approaches based upon or at least incorporating spiritual perspectives founded in Christian theology. While Secular therapy follows and uses techniques and understanding from a wide variety of theories of personality and psychotherapy including psycho-dynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, existential, and systems approaches; typically have shunned (except existential) spiritual aspects of personality development, dysfunction and healing.

Isn’t it true that if I am a Christian living a life truly committed to God, that I shouldn’t need any help other than directly from God and His Word?

This belief found in some Christian circles suggests arbitrarily that all one needs for life’s various difficulties is found in individual and group Bible study, individual and family devotional experiences, preaching, collective worship and pastoral counseling. This view limits the Holy Spirit’s ministry to only these approaches and denies the value of God’s ministry through medical doctors, financial planners, marriage and family therapists, and other Christians who are professionally trained. There is also in this position an often not too subtle condemning of people’s relationship with God when they experience difficulties that can be helped through consultation with professionals who have specialized training in a variety of areas

When is it appropriate to seek the help of a professional therapist?

  • When personal and/or relational problems have not been resolved in spite of your best efforts, using your personal, spiritual and relationship resources.

  • When your level of depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, obsessive thoughts, relational conflict or other psychological, emotional, or relational pain becomes significantly disruptive to your functioning or sense of peace.

  • When your medical doctor suggests that your physical complaints are exacerbated by or have origins in stress-related issues or other psychological, emotional or relational causes.

  • When contemplating major decisions and changes in your life (marriage, divorce, career changes, geographic moves, etc.).

  • When struggling to accomplish needed significant personal, spiritual, career or relationship growth.

What characteristics should I look for in a therapist?

  • Academic and professional training to at least the masters degree (M.A., M.S., M.S.W.) or doctoral level (Ph.D., Psy.D., M.D.).

  • Licensed to practice in your state (clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social worker).

  • Values and sees the necessity of addressing your whole person including the spiritual, psychological, physical, and relational aspects of your being.

  • Adequate level of experience, years in practice and demonstrated competence with the issues for which you are seeking help.

  • Practices according to highest ethical standards regarding confidentiality; fees and insurance; professional boundaries; not “bending the rules” or making a “special case” or “exceptions” for professional standards.

  • Good reputation among colleagues, peers and community.

  • Member in good standing of the professional associations that are appropriate to the therapist’s license and practice.

  • Personal characteristics and relational style with which you feel safe and comfortable.

What is my role/job as a client in order to get the most out of my sessions?

Clients who derive the greatest benefit from therapy are generally those who really want to change and accept that they are primarily responsible for the changes and growth that they are wanting. They:

  • are open to being nurtured and taught;

  • are willing to establish a trusting relationship with the therapist;

  • come regularly to counseling sessions, are ready to bring up issues and actively listen to and engage with therapist;

  • do homework given by the therapist to complete in between sessions, and try out new thoughts and behaviors that arise during sessions;

  • are willing to take the risks and face the anxieties that accompany confronting long-term inner fears, conflicts and aspects of life that feel out of control; and

  • recognize differences between what they are responsible for and can change, and those things that are beyond the sphere of their control.

What if I don’t think my therapist is helping me?

Even very good therapists will not be able to help every kind of client or be effective with every type of problem. There are several different reasons why you might think you are not getting the help you need:

  • your therapist may, indeed, not be offering you the help you need;

  • you may be, for some reason, highly resistive to the help your therapist is offering;

  • there may be a poor therapist – client match; or

  • you may be progressing well but have unrealistic expectations of your therapy.

When you think you are not receiving the help you need, try the following:

  • from the points listed above, decide what is the cause;

  • openly talk with your therapist about your thoughts and feelings;

  • determine, along with your therapist, how you can gain more from your therapy; and

  • if nothing seems to help, terminate your therapy relationship and establish a new course of treatment with another therapist.


How do I know when it is time to terminate counseling?

There are several good reasons for terminating your course of treatment.

  • When you have fully accomplished your therapy goals.

  • When you have made enough progress toward achieving your therapy goals that you can continue good progress without the help of therapy.

  • When your therapy is not producing satisfactory results and you have fully explored the reasons with your therapist.

  • When you have decided, along with your therapist, that a different strategy would be currently better for you (e.g. support group).

  • When you and your therapist agree that a temporary break from therapy sessions is advisable.

  • When changes in your life (geographic move, physical illness, change in job or family responsibilities) make it unfeasible to continue therapy.

Remember that it is often advisable to terminate therapy by gradually decreasing the frequency of your sessions (e.g. weekly to biweekly to monthly).

What kind of insurance covers therapy? What do I need to know about them? What about confidentiality and insurance?

Insurance plans vary widely concerning coverage, so you should carefully read the certificate of enrollment, plan summary, or policy of insurance. If you still have questions you should contact your carrier to find the specifics of your particular plan. 

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