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.
If you cannot find the meaning of a specific acronym online, you should contact the practitioner directly to ask about their credentials.
When we first meet at ground level zero, I always start with unconditional positive regard. This means I will fully accept you exactly as you are. It will be rare for me to hear something I 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.
My goal as a therapist is 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, I utilize an “eclectic” therapy style, which simply means I use different types of treatment to best fit your unique needs. We will work together as a team 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.
I 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, I 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 I 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, I will spend the first session getting to know more about you and your life. I 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 I 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 a counselor, I will not force you to talk about things you do not want to talk about. However, I 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.
I cannot force anyone to clean their emotional wounds. However, part of my 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 I suspect or learn of any abuse (especially sexual) or neglect of a child/elder/or disabled person, I 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) I must report it
- If you have been sexually exploited by a therapist/counselor, I must report it
- If I am subpoenaed by the court, I must share certain records
- If you authorize me, in writing, to release any of your records to you or another person
I 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 me 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.
My particular style is a blend of humanistic therapy, person-centered therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, internal family systems-informed therapy, mindfulness, breath work, trauma-focused therapy, and solution-focused therapy. 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. I want to say, “you’ll just know,” but I 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 I 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 I recommend for all people, I am 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 I may recommend activities, worksheets, or practices to go along with our agreed upon treatment plan, you will not hear me tell you how to respond in certain situations based on what I personally believe is best. I will support you in figuring out how to best respond in your way.
No. I am not a doctor, and I have zero capability to prescribe or offer you medication in any fashion. However, I 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, me, and the doctor work together as a team to monitor symptoms and track progress.
I do not take insurance and only accept private payments. The initial (60-90 minute) consultation is $125. My regular session fee is $100.
You can read more about my fees here.
When people say ‘sliding scale’ they are referring to discounted fees for people with lower incomes.
I take on a limited number of sliding scale clients through the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective. My session rate for Open Path clients is $60 per session. You may view my profile here to see if I have openings for new Open Path clients.
You can read about the reasons I 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.