The terms therapy and counseling mean basically the same thing. If you want to get to the nitty gritty of it, therapy typically refers to more in-depth exploration over a longer period of time (think psychotherapy), while counseling usually refers to more structured, short-term services, however, they overlap.
At Lakeside Counseling, we use the terms therapy, counseling, therapist, and counselor interchangeably to refer to treating mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.
Every therapist is a bit different in their credentials, as each credential allows us to accomplish different treatment needs. Most counselors will list their educational credential first:
- BA/BS- Bachelors of Arts or Science
- MA/MS- Masters of Arts or Science
- PhD/PsyD- Doctorate of Philosophy or Psychology
- MD- Medical Doctor
And then they will list their licensure:
- LPC- Licensed Professional Counselor
- LMFT- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- LCDC- Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor
- LCSW- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
After the initial credentials, there are various others you may see that people acquire as they gain more experience, education, and engage in more specialized work. It becomes more complicated when you are looking at practitioners across state lines, as each state has its own name, credential, and acronym for people in the mental health profession. For example, an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) in Texas is called an LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor) in Maryland.
For more information about Texas-specific mental health credentials, please click here.
If you cannot find the meaning of a specific acronym online, you should contact the practitioner directly to ask about their credentials.
In the mental health field, specifically professionals in Texas, a Licensed Professional Counselor-Associate (LPC-Associate) represents a crucial step in the journey towards becoming a fully licensed counselor. An LPC-Associate is an individual who has completed their master's degree in counseling (or related field) and has met the educational requirements necessary to become a licensed counselor in Texas.
LPC-As are able to offering therapy / counseling services, diagnose, etc. just like a fully licensed counselor can, but they are still acquiring the 3000 hours Texas requires to become a fully licensed counselor (an LPC). While acquiring these hours, an LPC-A remains under the supervision of a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S), who assists them with challenges, specific modalities / populations, and more.
The reason LPC-Associates are supervised by more experienced professionals is to ensure the highest level of care and safety for clients. Supervision is a fundamental part of the training and professional development process.
No, being an Associate does not necessarily mean that a counselor is less capable or effective. It simply means that they are in the process of gaining the experience and supervision required to become a fully licensed professional counselor (LPC).
Licensed Professional Counselor-Associates (LPC-Associates) have completed their master's degree and have met the educational requirements necessary for licensure. They are committed to their profession and are actively working to build their skills and expertise. They are often enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about helping clients.
As LPC-Associates gain more experience and supervision hours, they become increasingly competent and proficient in their work. It's important to remember that experience alone does not determine the effectiveness of a counselor. Factors such as empathy, communication skills, cultural sensitivity, and a genuine desire to help clients are also crucial components of a counselor's effectiveness.
In many cases, clients may have very positive experiences working with LPC-Associates who are dedicated to their growth and learning. So, while they may be newer to the field in terms of licensure, this does not necessarily translate to a lower quality of counseling services. It's always a good idea to assess a counselor based on their individual qualities, approach, and the rapport you develop with them during the therapeutic process.
Every therapist is different and has their own style. However, at Lakeside Counseling, when we first meet at ground level zero, we always start with unconditional positive regard. This means we will fully accept you exactly as you are. It will be rare for us to hear something we have not heard before, and you can trust in knowing there is absolutely no judgement as we explore your core self and influential life experiences.
Our goals as therapists are to meet you wherever you are at in your journey and support your growth, transformation, and healing in the best way possible for you. To accomplish this, we utilize an “eclectic” therapy style, which simply means we use different types of treatment to best fit your unique needs. We will work together as a team with each individual client to determine the best route forward for your overall success.
As mental health practitioners, we define mental dysfunction based on whether it effects your personal, social, or work life in a significant way. What effects one person may not have any influence on another. Everyone is different.
We encourage those looking into therapeutic services to ask themselves if their concerns are making it difficult to function in their personal, social, or work lives. If so, we encourage you to reach out. However, anybody can benefit from counseling, whether they are experiencing defined ‘mental dysfunction’ or not.
Whether you are suffering from severe mental health issues or simply looking for basic tools to aid in bettering your life, counseling can help. Talking with a counselor can help you:
- gain understanding of dysfunctional areas in your life
- change negative habits and behaviors
- manage your mood
- improve self-esteem
- explore and better understand significant life experiences
- develop and implement coping skills
- repair and strengthen relationships
- and so much more
The main goal of counseling with Lakeside is to help you find happiness and fulfillment as a whole person. It can be difficult to look at the parts of ourselves that are damaged or imperfect, yet we all have them. Working with a professional to hold those parts in a nonjudgmental and safe space can help every one of us live our best self.
Therapy looks different for every person. When most people think of counseling, they think of a person attending sessions once a week. However, the best frequency of counseling sessions for you depends.
It depends on your main concerns, how long you have had those concerns, how severe the concerns are, your willingness to engage in the therapy process, and many other factors. Therapy can be helpful in one session or last many years depending on individual needs.
At Lakeside, the goal is not to keep you in therapy. We support growth and autonomy. Our ultimate goal is to help you gain the skills necessary to function in a healthy way without needing a counselor forever, but we're committed to supporting what you need.
A typical therapy session looks different every time. For some sessions, you may have a lot on your mind and wish to talk through it while we just listen. In other sessions, you may want help in figuring out what to explore or how to face challenges. We may roleplay, learn exercises, or work through more structured ‘assignments’ to practice skills.
When we first meet, we will spend the first session getting to know more about you and your life. We will ask you questions about your childhood, your social circle, your work and education, and many other topics to better understand your story. Learning about you is ongoing, and we want to work with you to find the right directions to go.
We also discuss goals in the first session. In counseling, goals and the session structure are always evolving. They change and develop as work progresses, goals are reached, or new concerns arise.
It’s very normal to have things we do not want to talk about, especially if they are traumatic or involve emotional distress. Our brain naturally wants to safe lock those topics to protect us from re-experiencing the negative feelings.
As counselors, we will not force you to talk about things you do not want to talk about. However, we like to compare difficult life events to wounds. If we just put a band aid on the wound without cleaning it, it won’t heal, or it may heal on top, but all the gunk and infection will stay underneath.
We cannot force anyone to clean their emotional wounds. However, part of our goal is to provide a clean (safe) environment for us to work through your emotional wounds together when you feel ready.
Confidentiality, or not sharing what you say in our counseling sessions with others, is one of the most important dedications of our profession. There are a few exceptions to this rule to protect people, because other people are involved in the exceptions:
- If we suspect or learn of any abuse (especially sexual) or neglect of a child/elder/or disabled person, we must report it
- If you are an imminent harm to yourself or others (for example, if you tell me you have a gun in your car and you are going to kill yourself or shoot somebody else) we must report it
- If you have been sexually exploited by a therapist/counselor, we must report it
- If I am subpoenaed by the court, we must share certain records
- If you authorize us, in writing, to release any of your records to you or another person
We keep very basic notes on our sessions to monitor progress and overall mental health status. These include appointment dates and times, medication information, types of treatment, general conversation topics, and diagnoses*. Details of our sessions (such as names, specific scenarios, illegal activity, etc) are only officially recorded if they apply to the exceptions above.
This means you can tell us a lot.
*See the page on insurance information to read more about details on diagnoses
Yes! The different types of therapy are called ‘modalities’ or methods, and there are a lot of them (over 50 according to some). Every therapist has their own, unique style in terms of how they combine and utilize different modalities for treatment.
Some methods, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), are used by almost all therapists because they are well-researched and proven to succeed in helping people. Other methods may not be used as often because they require specific training, they work better with some people than others, or they just aren’t as well known.
At Lakeside, the counselors use a blend of therapies to find what fits best for each individual. When you combine different treatment styles, it's called "eclectic".
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique that addresses negative thought patterns to change behavior. You can read about it more in detail here.
This is a difficult question to answer. We want to say, “you’ll just know,” but we understand it is not always this simple. If you are wondering if a counselor is a good match for you and your growth needs, ask yourself the following questions:
- Although some of the things we discuss may be uncomfortable, does this counselor help me feel safe and heard while sharing?
- Does this counselor help me believe in myself?
- Do I feel the best parts of myself coming through when I am working with this counselor?
- If I am currently in a dark place, do I feel hopeful when working with this counselor? As if there is a light somewhere at the end of the tunnel?
- Does this counselor help me explore my life and myself?
- Does this counselor help me find useful activities, practices, or assignments that aid in my growth and development?
If you answered yes to these questions, you have likely found a great counseling relationship, and we encourage you to stick with it!
As you work with your counselor, you will discuss goals and progress toward those goals. Meeting your objectives is a huge part of measuring how well the therapeutic process is working. As you reach your goals, more may come up that you want to work toward, or you may hit your initial goals and feel ready to terminate. To read more about terminating (or ending) counseling, click here.
The short answer is sometimes. Advice typically means a recommendation of some sort. While there are basic things we recommend for all people, we are not going to tell you what to do.
When you get advice from a close friend or loved one, usually they will tell you what they would do in the situation. A good counselor is determined to help you figure out what you will do in a situation. Counseling is about guidance and teamwork, not leadership.
While sometimes we may recommend activities, worksheets, or practices to go along with our agreed upon treatment plan, you will not hear us tell you how to respond in certain situations based on what we personally believe is best. We will support you in figuring out how to best respond in your way.
No. We are not doctors, and we have zero capability to prescribe or offer you medication in any fashion. However, we can and will refer you to a local doctor or psychiatrist (both of whom can give you medication) if this may help with treatment goals. In ideal scenarios, you, your counselor, and the doctor work together as a team to monitor symptoms and track progress.
We do not take insurance and only accept private payments. Each of our clinicians sets their own fees.
You can find details on each counselor's individual page.
When people say ‘sliding scale’ they are referring to discounted fees for people with lower incomes.
We take on a limited number of sliding scale clients through the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective. Our session rate for Open Path clients is $70 per session.
You can read about the reasons we decline to utilize insurance companies here.
Under the No Surprises Act (H.R. 133 - effective January 1, 2022), health care providers need to give clients who do not have or are not using insurance an estimate of their bill for services. This is called a Good Faith Estimate. You can read more by clicking the link.
Yes! If you can't find what you're looking for with our practice or our clinicians, we have a few recommendations in the area. You can view their information here.