Frequently Asked Questions
If you have other questions that are not listed below, feel free to email or call me. Starting the process of counseling can be intimidating and stressful. I want to make sure to make the process as smooth as possible so it doesn't add more stress to your life.
How does counseling help?
Counseling can give you a new perspective on your situation, lead to clearer thinking, increase energy, give you a better understanding of your feelings and needs, turn down overwhelming emotions, and provide a greater sense of wholeness and calm within yourself. Therapy is a process. Nothing gets better right away. You have to start to let things out for you to begin to feel better. Together we can find new tools to help you continue to improve and feel better on your own.
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. In addition, your first session is a time to ask your counselor questions, understand what counseling might look like with this person, and whether or not they are going to be a good fit for you. Finding the right counselor is important because the relationship and sense of trust you build with that person will have a big impact on your ability to fully invest in the therapeutic process and in your own healing.
How does counseling work?
Counseling is a collaborative process where you and your chosen counselor can explore the concerns you have and figure out ways to make them less overwhelming and stressful in a confidential context.
Almost all counseling is based on:
the development of a trusting and open relationship between the client and the counselor;
honest exploration of feelings, needs, and concerns; and
efforts to try new solutions to old problems.
Can I see a counselor without telling my parents?
In Washington young people can make the decision to seek out medical or mental health care on their own without their parents consent after the age of 13. However, parents often provide access to insurance and the financial backing necessary to pay for counseling. Some parents can serve as amazing support systems and advocates for their kids. Unfortunately, not all youth have a parent that they feel comfortable or safe talking to, much less involving in the process of seeking out counseling. If this is the case for you, please don't let it be a barrier to seeking out care. I sometimes have the capacity to make some accommodations and if I don't, I will do my best to refer you to other people/services where you can get help or support.
Do my parents or other people get to know what I talk about with my counselor?
What you talk about in counseling is confidential, which means no one, other than you and your counselor, has the right to see your records unless you sign a release of information saying it is okay for your counselor to talk to another person or send information to another party, like a doctor.
Limits to confidentiality:
If a young person is being hurt/abused in a physical or sexual way or neglected by an older person
Serious intent to complete suicide, as in a plan and a means to kill themselves.
Serious intent and plan to kill someone else.
If the person is in imminent danger, then a counselor would have to report to the appropriate people to keep them safe.
As a youth advocate/ally, I feel that it is important that young people know their rights. I am always open and honest with the youth I work with regarding their rights. I make sure to remind youth if they begin to tell me something that may be reportable so they can make an educated decision as to whether they would like more help and support or if it is safer not to talk about it at that time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to ask me.