What IS Counseling?
What ISN'T Counseling?
When should you seek counseling? From childhood through late adulthood, there are certain times when we may need help addressing problems and issues that cause us emotional distress or make us feel overwhelmed. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional. Professional counselors offer the caring, expert assistance that we often need during these stressful times. A counselor can help you identify your problems and assist you in finding the best ways to cope with the situation by changing behaviors that contribute to the problem or by finding constructive ways to deal with a situation that is beyond your personal control. Professional counselors offer help in addressing many situations that cause emotional stress, including, but not limited to:
Good indicators of when you should seek counseling are when you're having difficulties at work, your ability to concentrate is diminished or when your level of pain becomes uncomfortable, says Dr. Gail Robinson, past president of the American Counseling Association. However, you don't want to wait until the pain becomes unbearable or you're at the end of your rope. If someone is questioning if they should go into counseling that is probably the best indicator that they should, says Dr. William King, a mental health counselor in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana. You should trust your instincts. Joyce Breasure, past president of the American Counseling Association and a professional counselor who has been in private practice for more than 20 years, recommends counseling when you:
If you're not playing some, working some, and learning some, then you're out of balance. There's a potential for some problems, Breasure says. Robinson points out you don't have to be sick to benefit from counseling. Counseling is more than a treatment of mental illness, she says. Some difficult issues we face in life are part of normal development. Sometimes it's helpful to see what you're going through is quite normal. What is professional counseling? Professional counselors work with individuals, families, groups and organizations. Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health. Through counseling you examine the behaviors, thoughts and feelings that are causing difficulties in your life. You learn effective ways to deal with your problems by building upon personal strengths. A professional counselor will encourage your personal growth and development in ways that foster your interest and welfare. Who are professional counselors? Licensed professional counselors provide quality mental health and substance abuse care to millions of Americans. Professional counselors have a master's or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field which included an internship and coursework in human behavior and development, effective counseling strategies, ethical practice, and other core knowledge areas. State licensure typically requires a master's or doctoral degree, two to three years of supervised clinical experience, and the passage of an examination. Our campus counselor has a Masters degree in Education with a specialization in clinical counseling. She has 15 years experience as a counselor: 4 in a high school setting, 11 in private practice work with individuals, couples and families and 11 in higher education. Participation in continuing education is often required for the renewal of a license or certification. All licensed professional counselors adhere to a code of ethics that protects the confidentiality of the counseling relationship; prohibits discrimination and requires understanding of and respect for diverse cultural backgrounds; and mandates that professional counselors put the needs and welfare of clients before all others in their practice. How much does counseling cost? If you are a full or part-time student at Ohio Dominican, counseling is FREE of charge, and continues to be as long as you are enrolled. If a referral to another specialist is required (psychologist, psychiatrist, special program), the counselor will work with you to find someone that accepts your personal or family insurance. In the case that no insurance coverage exists, the counselor will work with you to make sure that the needed service is provided. How long does counseling take? Ideally, counseling is terminated when the problem that brought you to counseling becomes more manageable or is resolved. However, in situations that require a referral to another professional, you should check with your health plan to find out more about any limitations in your coverage. During the first few counseling sessions your counselor will also discuss the length of treatment that may be needed to achieve your goals and how often you should meet. For some students, counseling entails only one or two sessions to consult on how to deal with a particular problem, and for others it may mean meeting weekly for a period of several months. Is everything I say confidential? All members of the American Counseling Association subscribe to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice which require counselors to protect the confidentiality of their communications with clients. Most state licensure laws also protect client confidentiality. As a client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure will be made with your full written, informed consent and will be limited to a specific period of time. The only limitations to confidentiality occur when the counselor feels that there is clear and imminent danger to you or to others, or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be disclosed such as a court case. Whenever possible, you will be informed before confidential information is revealed. What do I begin with when I start counseling? Any questions you may have about the counselor, his or her background or training, the symptoms you are experiencing, or the counseling process itself may be addressed during your initial phone conversation with the counselor or in your first face-to-face meeting. It is best to be as honest as possible, even though it sometimes feels uncomfortable talking about very difficult or personal issues. The counselor is someone you can trust to listen non-judgmentally and ask questions out of care and concern. It is often difficult to open up and share your problems with a stranger and you may feel awkward or anxious during your initial sessions. But it is also important that you have a chemistry or rapport with the counselor. Counselors have different styles, personalities, and approaches. Take time to evaluate how you feel interacting with the counselor and whether you believe that the two of you can work effectively together. Give counseling a chance! It may take at least three or four sessions to feel like you are making the progress or taking steps to make the necessary changes. If you still do not feel at ease with the counselor, do not get discouraged. Instead, discuss the difficulties you are having and ask for a referral to someone in the community, away from campus. Together you and your counselor will set goals, work toward achieving them, and assess how well you are actually meeting them. Counseling can help you maximize your potential and make positive changes in your life. Finally, remember that counseling may be hard work at times but change and progress do happen.
Counseling ServicesStudent Center, Room 235Ohio Dominican University1216 Sunbury RoadColumbus, Ohio 43219
Phone: (614) 251-4570counselingservices@ ohiodominican.edu
Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm