There is sometimes confusion over what exactly “counseling” is. The mental health profession itself has not helped this confusion, with the multiple names given to individuals in the broader field of mental health: counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. As a state-licensed LPC (Licensed Profesisonal Counselor), I usually work within the framework of once-a-week, 50 or 75 minute individual sessions, providing a safe and confidential environment in which to explore concerns and work toward personal or relationship growth.
What counseling is:
* A supportive environment for change and growth. I believe counseling is intended to be a place without judgement, and one that respects the values and the beliefs of each client. While counselors often challenge clients on thoughts and actions that might be counter to their personal growth, it is always done with empathy and respect.
* A flexible process that can be tailored to meet your needs. As a counselor, I have been trained in many different counseling methods. I tend to favor a combination of cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and person-centered therapies, but am open to adapting to counseling approaches that work best for the client.
* For the most part, what you want it to be. In addition to counseling being a collaborative process during our time together, the majority of the work in counseling takes place outside of the weekly sessions. Exercises, journaling, and reading can all be used to enhance and, in some cases, quicken the counseling process.
What counseling is not:
* A place to get medication that you might need for depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc. Currently, in Georgia, only Psychiatrists or other medical doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines. As a trained counselor, however, I can coordinate treatment with any other caregiver you might be working with on your medicine.
* A place to only get advice, or in the case of couples, find out who is "right." I practice counseling from a place of mutual collaboration. Advice giving and argument mediation, while well usually intentioned, often represents the needs and values of other individuals. I believe that you, as the client or couple, will be the best judge of courses of action for yourself or selves. As the counselor, I will be there to provide guidance, support, and feedback on your ideas.
* A place to create dependence. Although it is impossible to determine at the onset of counseling just how long the process will last, counseling will always be conducted with the goal of creating self-reliance. This will enable you, the client or couple, to develop your own internal resiliency, and to potentially no longer need ongoing counseling.
Interested in seeing if counseling is right for you? Call 404-229-6177 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free phone consultation.
Will Mahan, LPC