Considering counseling can bring up all kinds of questions. Here are some of the most common questions. We hope they help you make a decision about starting counseling at the WNY Holistic Counseling Center:
1. Do you work with other issues besides stress and anxiety?
Yes! We are here to help you if you are struggling. That may be with stress or anxiety, or it may be with depression, grief, family conflict, relationship issues, self-esteem, your sense of direction, or unresolved things from your past. Maybe you don’t really know what’s wrong, you just don’t feel like yourself. Our goal is simple: we want you to feel better.
2. As a therapist, are you going to tell me what to do?
Counseling takes place in the context of a helping relationship in which you and your therapist work together to resolve a problem, change a behavior and foster personal growth and awareness. The point of counseling is not advice. Part of what might be bringing you in is that you’ve gotten so much advice from so many people that you can’t sort out your next steps. The last thing you need is another person’s advice. So, we won’t give you advice or tell you what to do, but we will support you as you explore your options, and we will give you encouragement along the way. The goal of treatment is for you to rediscover your own voice, your own priorities, and your own goals. And for you to develop the courage and discernment to act on what is right for you to live the life you want to live. The first step for many people in therapy is to figure out, sometimes for the first time, what they want from their lives and from themselves. This is your time to focus on yourself.
3. Can therapy help me? Shouldn’t I be able to just handle this on my own?
The research shows that therapy helps many people. Many of our clients report relief from stress, depression, anxiety, past experiences and relationship difficulties. Some of our other clients seek therapy because they are searching for direction and deeper meaning in their lives, or a greater sense of peace and well-being. While you certainly possess inner resources and may indeed be able to handle this alone, we believe that having an unbiased third party, who genuinely cares about you and your being happier, can make the process easier and sometimes faster.
4. Are you going to think I’m crazy? Am I crazy?
One of the most common symptoms of severe stress or anxiety is the belief that you’re “going crazy.” Anxiety causes a lot of different emotions, and the feeling of going crazy is one of them. It comes from experiencing extremely high emotions – which often fluctuate, from a rush of adrenaline and stress, and from the overwhelming feeling of losing control. It’s a natural response to severe stressors; your nervous system becomes overwhelmed and you feel as though you can’t handle it. Having anxiety does not mean you are crazy; it just means you may need some additional tools to help yourself calm down and regain control. You’re also not crazy if you suffer from PTSD. It’s simply a reaction to the anxiety you experienced as a result of your trauma, and what happens when your entire body is on high alert. With the proper help, it can get better!
5. Will I have to go on meds?
While meds can be helpful in some cases, many of our clients have not found them effective or don’t like the way they feel when they’re on them. As counselors, our role is not to prescribe meds, but to help you learn ways to better manage the issues that are causing you distress. Our belief is that you already possess everything you need to heal yourself; you just may need some help accessing it, and may need to learn some new skills. There are many effective ways to cope with stress, anxiety and depression that don’t involve taking meds. Many of our clients find that a holistic approach works best.
6. Do I have to dig through my whole past if I want to get help in therapy?
In most cases, it is possible to address painful challenges and gain some relief without digging through the distant past. However, if your past is causing you pain in the present, then your current problems can be addressed more directly with a non-judgmental and compassionate understanding of how you came to this moment and how you make meaning for yourself and the world around you.
7. What if I want to come in for couples counseling and my partner doesn’t?
That’s perfect: we offer “couples-counseling-for-1.” Please come in. Many people find that as they seek help and feel better, the relationship improves.
8. What happens during the first session?
When you arrive, please have a seat in the waiting room. There will be a clipboard with our intake sheet(s) waiting for you. When it’s time for your appointment, your therapist will greet you and invite you into the office. You and your therapist will talk a bit about what you can expect from this process and you will be invited you to share your story. We will help you articulate why you are seeking help at this time and what goals you would like to accomplish. If all goes well, you and your therapist will then decide how often to meet and what direction makes the most sense for your work together.
9. How do I get started?
Great question! We want this process to be as easy for you as possible. You can either schedule an appointment online by clicking here or by calling us at (716) 926-6009. We look forward to meeting you!