Counseling is a process through which clients work one-on-one with a trained therapist — in a safe, caring, and confidential environment — to explore their feelings, beliefs, or behaviors, work through challenging or influential memories, identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward desired change. The two form an alliance, relationship, or bond that enables trust and personal growth. It is focused on the individual's past, immediate, or near future concerns.
People seek therapy for a wide variety of reasons, from coping with major life challenges or childhood trauma, to dealing with depression or anxiety, to simply desiring personal growth and greater self-knowledge. A client and therapist may work together for as few sessions or as long as several years, depending on the client’s unique needs and personal goals for therapy.
People in relationships seek counseling for any number of reasons, from power struggles and communication problems to sexual dissatisfaction and infidelity. Though counseling is recommended as soon as discontent arises in a relationship, studies show partners will not seek therapy until they have been unhappy for an average of six years. And yet, the more time has passed, the more difficult it may be to repair the relationship. In some cases, a couple who has already decided to separate may pursue therapy in order to end the relationship amicably and respectfully.
Counseling is often recommended for couples who are preparing for marriage. Premarital counseling is offered to couples who wish to explore areas of conflict or concern that may cause later difficulty or dissatisfaction in a marriage. In premarital counseling sessions, couples can discuss differences of opinion, personal values, and their expectations of the marriage. Premarital counseling may uncover more issues than a couple originally sought to discuss, but this can be beneficial as it can allow couples to discover whether they truly are compatible before they marry.
Effective therapy will likely address many aspects of the relationship, although communication tends to be the primary focus of couples therapy. When partners repeatedly employ conflict avoidance or engage in heated power struggles, it is often the case that communication problems ensue; resentment builds, and repairs are never made. John Gottman, who collected decades’ worth of data on marriage and relationships, identified the lack of adequate repair following an argument as the biggest contributor to marital unhappiness and divorce. We know one of the first steps in improving a relationship is to teach each person how to regulate their emotions, stay calm, and use healthy communication skills to resolve problems new and old, and many partners see improved communication skills as a result of counseling.
Substance Abuse Evaluation
There are many situations that may require someone to have a substance abuse evaluation. Treatment for a drug or alcohol problem usually begins with an addiction assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether an addiction is present, the extent of the addiction, whether there are co-occurring conditions, and to assist in the development of a treatment plan.
Different types of professionals are trained to assess people for addictions. The addiction assessment process is fairly straightforward. The clinician will have you fill out a standardized questionnaire asking about your current drug or alcohol use, treatment history, health history, patterns of behavior, symptoms, and the effects the addiction has had on your life. Afterward, the clinician will conduct a face-to-face interview with you, asking standard, open-ended questions that provide information to make a proper diagnosis.
In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, for a particular shared, usually event or experience. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered, and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks.
Currently being provided are: