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Seeking Shalom
What to Expect

First Session

During the initial session, important background information will be gathered.  You will be asked to explain what has brought you to seek counseling.  During the course of the visit, you will fill out a questionnaire and talk to a counselor.  Answer the questions as honestly as you can as these will help the counselor recommend how to proceed.  Some of the questions will be hard to answer but are important to provide an initial picture for the counselor.  You can expect to be asked about your medical history, your present and historic life situation, your significant relationships, your work, your faith journey, how you spend your free time, your family and your educational background.  You will also have an opportunity to ask questions.  You can expect that the counselor will not judge you for your answers or your questions.

Depending on a number of factors (such as schedule availability and your desires) there may be a period of time between your seeking help and your first session.  If the situation that brought you to seek counseling should get worse before your initial session, especially if you should have thoughts of hurting yourself or another person, please get immediate assistance.  You can call us to try to set up an earlier urgent appointment.  If this is not possible, or you do not reach us, please go to the emergency room for an evaluation.


Confidentiality

Everything revealed during the evaluation and later sessions is protected by confidentiality.  There are situations which legally require reports to be made (especially in the area of abuse or intended violent crimes) but otherwise everything said will not be disclosed, unless you authorize the release of the information.  Your counselor will discuss with you whether there are support people that should have full or limited information.  To respect the confidentiality of the process and your privacy, if you should your counselor outside of the office, the counselor will not acknowledge you.  This is not because they don't recognize you or that they are being rude or disrespectful, but rather is out of respect for you.

Finances

Many people are concerned about the cost of counseling.  While there are definite costs involved, please discuss your financial situation with your counselor.  At times, counseling can be offered on a sliding scale based on your income, and proof may be required.  We also take part in the discount network as a health partner with the Freelancers Union. At this time, we do not process insurance claims although we will provide documentation to assist you in filing a claim with your insurance carrier.  Please check with your insurance carrier about any benefits you may have.  Please also be prepared to pay for your sessions at the time when you see the counselor.

Referrals

Different individuals will have different results from counseling.  No one counselor is the right person to work with every person seeking counseling.  In addition to the match being a good one, it is also important that the counselor has a background appropriate to help you with the issue(s) that you are needing to address.  In the event that the match does not seem to be correct, either the individual(s) or the counselor may recommend that a referral be made to another counselor.  Feeling safe and able to work in the counseling relationship is important.  Additionally, there may be times when the counselor suggests that another professional be seen in addition to the counselor.  This is particular the case where an assessment and/or treatment a physician is needed or where more in depth psychological tests are needed.

Plan for Counseling

Your counselor will assess the information you provided initially and in later sessions.  This will form the basis of describing what you are working on and the course counseling will take.  You are a partner in the development of this plan.  If counseling is extending over time, this plan will be revisited periodically.

After Counseling

Yes, there is life after counseling.  Some situations will be appropriate for short term counseling (solutions focused counseling for a single issue may only take a few sessions) while others will involve sessions over a longer period of time.  During the course of long term counseling, the frequency of sessions may be varied.  In any case, the focus will be on what is appropriate to best help you to be able to find wholeness.

Just as the beginning of counseling is important, so is the ending of a counseling relationship.  At the end of counseling, the counselor will help you to remember what you have learned and ways that you will be able to maintain wholeness.  As a former client, you will remain as someone that we care about.  As a result, if something should come up, please feel free to be back in touch with us.


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