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Counseling Services Frequently asked questions

What can I expect from my first visit?

The initial session provides a time for you to get acquainted with your counselor and talk about the reason you are seeking counseling. We will collect information about you and your background, and you will be given information about confidentiality and other rights you have as a client. Some issues are easily addressed, and an initial session is all that is required. In other cases, a referral to someone who specializes in a particular area is appropriate. If you and the counselor decide to continue, you will work together to develop a plan outlining the goals of counseling. You will arrange a follow-up appointment at the close of the session.

Are sessions confidential?

Confidentiality is a priority. Our goal is to provide a safe environment in which to discuss personal issues. If you seek counseling, you have a right to privacy. This means that we will never disclose the fact you have received counseling or the specific issues discussed without your written permissions. Rare exceptions may occur in regard to safety issues or court orders. A counseling record is kept for the counselor’s use only and is filed in a secure location.

What’s the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, and case/social worker?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who has attended medical school and specialized in the study and treatment of mental illness, emotional disturbance and abnormal behavior. Psychiatrists’ primary role in the mental health arena are to evaluate mental illness and treat with medications. In some instances, a psychiatrist provides both medication and counseling services.

A psychologist (or clinical psychologist) is a professional who has earned a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology and specialized in assessment, testing and treatment of mental illness and disability. A psychologist does not prescribe medication, but instead can play several roles in the mental health arena. Psychologists can provide testing for mental health disorders and help provide a clear picture of one’s mental health. Often times psychological testing helps confirm or disprove a particular mental health diagnosis and can generate a specific list of recommended treatments. Psychologists can also provide counseling and in some instances also teach and conduct research at a university or college.

A counselor (or therapist) are generally Master’s level professionals who are divided into LCSWs, and LPCs, are licensed by the state they reside and work in to provide psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families. Counselors do not prescribe medication. Counselor’s primary role in the mental health arena focuses on evaluating and identifying mental health disorders, ranging from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, to personality disorders and psychosis and develop treatment goals for them. Counselors also evaluate and help identify areas of stress in a variety of life areas such as relationships, school/work/career issues and personal development.

A case manager (also referred to as social workers) is someone who has a BA, BS or MSW and specializes in social welfare and assisting individuals with problematic social circumstances and relationships such as domestic violence or child abuse. They often coordinate a variety of social services as well as mental health services and often work for social service agencies (such as DFS) or outpatient mental health clinics.

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