Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the right therapist for you?
People seek connection and to feel understood. Therapy works for many people who are seeking support thought life’s emotional difficulties and challenges. Studies have shown that the most important factor for success is the client’s motivation and the relationships established between therapist and client, regardless of the theories used. This often times means finding the right match between client and counselor.
The process of knowing if it is the right match can sometimes take a few sessions. It is important that you feel trust and confidence in the relationship, secure enough to feel supported and in some cases gently challenged if this is needed, while exploring the reasons that brought you to see me. If I feel I cannot help you, or if we decide that we are not a good match, I will be happy to find you a referral that better suits your needs.
Why is it important to go to a Marriage and Family Therapist versus another type of mental health professional for couples and marital issues?
A licensed Marriage and Family Therapists has specific training as a marital counselor and considers your marriage or partnership as the client in the room. Often times other forms of mental health professional training focus on the two individuals as the clients. Counseling is a field that is constantly evolving with new information in the areas of adult attachment, neuro brain science and mind and body connections. Much of this information was not available until recently.
From a Marriage and Family Therapy perspective this latest information is taken into account and brought into my sessions. Your “we” will have the priority in our work, as we focus on your couple. After all, working on your marriage or couple is usually why you came to couples’ counseling.
I am a member of the American Marriage and Family Therapy Association, as such I will support and encourage your couple’s success by working with each of you and continue to look out for the best interest of your marriage, unless the couple tells me otherwise.
What do all those initials behind your name mean?
As a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (LAMFT) and a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) in Arkansas I have a graduate degree that covers the areas of Marriage and Family Therapy as well as community counseling. I worked for two years in two community clinics, seeing a variety of clients and issues. The law requires I pass both written and oral examinations, and back ground checks to be licensed by the State Board of Arkansas. All therapists with this license are required to complete continued education to maintain these licenses active.
I am a member in good standing of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) since 2010, and a member of the American Counseling Association. My current board consultant supervisor is Dr. Atchely, MFT, LPC, who is also dually licensed.
Can’t we just wait and hope things will get better?
You could. Studies show that couples suffer an average of seven years of marital difficulties before making the decision to seek counseling. Why suffer? A small struggle, wound, or disagreement can easily build in a relationship creating resentment, conflict and or future confusion, thus destabilizing the couple. This erodes trust and if left unresolved might fester getting worse over time. Sometimes this leads to feelings of resentment, loneliness and lack of intimacy or closeness as a couple. There are some of the high costs of waiting to get help.
Talking about how I feel might make me uncomfortable? Do I have to?
Only when you want to and to the extend you feel you want to share, and no more. Keep in mind sometimes in counseling you might experience some temporary discomfort when approaching certain topics, or feel a set back and that is to be expected. In my sessions you will participate in setting your pace at your comfort level. In cases of trauma I have specific techniques where it is not necessary to have to relive or talk about past events to work on beginning your healing.
Research shows the ability to notice and tolerate a full range of emotions leads to good health. Understanding what those feeling’s are and making reasoned behavioral choices is part of your emotional intelligence. Often those emotions when explored are better understood and make more sense, this helps you then to understand your needs in a logical way.
Individuals or couples sometimes come to counseling to simply change old pattern’s or habits for new behaviors and patterns that work better and choose to work towards those behavioral goals with less of a need to explore or talk about their feelings. Their goals are concrete with specific objectives, that focus more on actions, and reaching what works better for them over time. Sometimes clients want or need to do a little bit of both.
How many sessions will I, or we need?
Some clients just need or want small changes and are able to accomplish this in less time. Brief therapy, is a type of therapy that I am trained to practice and is often 10 sessions or less and is used with some issues. Some clients seek to explore more in depth or often times issues are more complicated than they first appear and need more time.
People grow and develop in increments throughout their life, stepping up and then reaching a plateau phase. They work in session and once they feel better or have some symptom relief, counseling will end. We are not machines, but ever evolving individuals who learn and grow through our continued experiences.
We will gauge your progress together regularly, as we meet, seeing how many sessions you or your couple will need in order for you to feel relief or improve your situation. Understanding your history, your interactions, feeling heard, and establishing new patterns of interactions often takes some time.
We can meet once a week or once every few weeks depending on your needs. Usually both client and therapist know when they have reached the end and it is time to say goodbye for now. An occasional follow up visit sometimes is all that is necessary to stay on track.
What should I expect in my counseling session?
In the first sessions an explanation of what confidentiality means in counseling and the exceptions, setting up fees and any questions you might have about the counseling process will be covered. We will also gauge if we are well suited to work together and if I am the best therapists for you.
My goal in session is to bring warmth, respect, empathy, unconditional positive regard for each of my clients. Sometimes a sense of humor and ability to understand our commonalities as people can be beneficial as well. The ability to understand and meet you or your couple where you are and help you get to where you want to go will be our focus. If I feel at any time, I am not qualified to help you with your particular issues I will be happy to refer you so you can get the best possible care.
All these factors taken together increase the possibility of a feelings of a successful counseling session to take place. Good “chemistry” between counselor and client, I think is the right blend of all of these factors.
Why is it important to have couples’ goals when you come to therapy?
One of the main goals in couples counseling is often learning about your relational interaction style. Who have you become in this relationship or who do you want to be? This is part of learning about yourself and your partner. Often times couples have strengths and weakness they do not realize. Learning to recognize this is important. Together we can explore the marriage you have now, and the marriage you want to create together. We can see what is most effective for your couple so you both can be the best partner you can be.
Long term relationships go through normal ups and downs, and sometimes a couple needs to be helped through the rough spots and to be reminded that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. My goal is to respect your values while helping you create your new relationship. Every couple is unique, yet there seems to also be some commonalities and patterns in martial couple’s and understanding this insight is important as well. Being a more effective present partner in your relationship makes for a more loving relationship and a successful marriage and/or partnership in the long run. I believe that in a couple, we all do better when we all do better.
Do you accept Insurance?
No not at this time. Most insurance companies do not cover marital counseling. I have an affordable sliding scale plan and I accept cash, check, or credit card at the time of service.In the event of severe financial hardship I can discuss possible options for you ahead of session. I will be happy to answer any questions that you might have about counseling, my practice or anything else that is important to you feeling comfortable when we meet and as we work together. I look forward to speaking to you more in person.