What’s the difference between counseling and therapy?

The terms “counseling” and “therapy” are often used interchangeably. This may be because many therapists provide a blend of counseling and therapy. Strictly speaking, counseling involves more coaching and potentially more advice giving. Therapy involves a deeper level of work to change behavior patterns and effect emotions so that a higher level of internal change can take place.  Both can be directive and interactive, though psychotherapists are more likely than counselors to use reflective listening, rather than solution focused or problem solving techniques as their primary model of intervention.

How do I know if I need to go to therapy or counseling?

There are many reasons to go to therapy. If you’re having trouble functioning in any areas of your life – either because you’re anxious, have no energy, are having interpersonal problems that keep you from being your best, or are suffering from the effects of a trauma it’s a good idea to get help. But it also doesn’t have to be that serious. If you’re struggling with any area of life and don’t know which way to go or who to talk to counseling can help.

How do I choose the right therapist or counselor?

If you come to Compatible Counseling Solutions for an assessment, we will help you sort that out and match you with a therapist that’s a good fit for you. However, if you’d like to find a therapist on your own it helps to look for someone who specializes in the area that you are having problems in. Most directories list areas of specialization. Also, let the therapist know if you prefer a higher level of interaction, or if you’d like to primarily listen to you and provide reflective feedback. If they don’t provide the type of interaction you’re comfortable with they will hopefully share that with you. It’s always important that you feel comfortable with the person you’re working with. Starting counseling is anxiety provoking, and the first session isn’t always the best indicator of whether the relationship will work or not. But if you’ve seen the therapist for three of four sessions and it’s not feeling right you will want to discuss that with them, or try someone else.

What is different about you from other therapists of counselors?

I always start services with a thorough assessment to make sure that you receive services from a therapist that is a good match for you. I recognize that, although I do provide ongoing services, I might not be the best fit for you. I let you know upfront if your problem area is one that I don’t have expertise in, but I am always happy to provide an assessment and referral for any problem area.

What style of therapy do you provide?  

My services are more directive than they are reflective, but I do both. I am happy to provide feedback on what I think is maintaining your problems and together we work to find a way to make things better. I’m a Certified Daring Way™ facilitator, which means I provide Brene´ Brown’s shame resiliency curricula, The Daring Way and Rising Strong, to individuals and groups. These curricula are didactic and psychoeducational in nature, and very powerful in helping people incorporate more vulnerability and courage into their lives. I am also fully trained in EMDR and help facilitate peoples’ recovery from traumatic memories that impact their ability to make changes in their lives.

What is the first therapy session with you like?

The first session is a thorough review of the problem you’re looking for help with. We discuss strategies you’ve tried to address the problem, and how it’s impacting your functioning. I also ask about your family history growing up in order to determine those factors that may have a role in the problem, and I look at your current supports and practices that help you to cope and thrive day to day. I am interactive in my session with you, so you don’t have to have it all figured out. In our second session, I provide you with a written copy of your assessment, which we review together. We discuss treatment recommendations and make an ongoing plan in which I either provide you with a referral for ongoing service, or we begin our work tougher.