Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling
In my role I'm asked questions about a broad scope of issues. Relationships, counseling, and how to deal with people's problems are all pretty common topics of discussion. I am interested in helping people to ask good questions and seek honest answers to help them through life. If you would like to discuss any additional questions, please schedule an appointment through the window at the bottom of this page!
What is the point of counseling?
There are several potential benefits from talking through issues, including with a skilled people helper (i.e. pastor, counselor, social worker, psychologist). They can provide support, help with solving problems, and give hope in specific situations. Through intentional conversations people are often helped to grow relationally and spiritually. This talking process can significantly change how people view themselves and others.
It is important to ask yourself and people with whom you are talking to a few important questions, "Direction: What is the ultimate goal of our talking together?", "Time: How long will this help take?", "Goals: What will be our tangible results?", "Opportunities: What are the benefits & risks?", "Teamwork: What exactly is the helper committed to do?", and "Expectations: What am I expected to do to make it successful?"
Do I need professional help?
It's a simple fact that we all need & seek help sometimes. Our lives just have these moments where we are pushed beyond ourselves. Some problems even get worse with our own efforts- so we can't handle them in isolation. This makes change an an ongoing need. In many situations our friends, family, spiritual leaders, & community can provide adequate help. Yet these relationships can both carry us and deeply hurt us in the process. Some of these people who are closest to us may promote us seeking professional help, and others will openly disdain us getting help outside of them. When, how, and what we seek from people helpers can be humbling and deeply personal.
The professional's job, like their unpaid counterparts, is to help us understand our strengths, and some can even help contend with our weaknesses, obstacles, suffering, and sin (offenses to God & others). With guidance we can grow in ways we do not expect. Realistically not all counsel will make us healthy or address our deepest needs. It really matters who, what direction, and how someone is offering to help us. For better or worse, the helper's beliefs, values, and counseling methods will shape our actions.
Professional help is not for everyone, though. Sadly it's not always affordable and happily not everyone needs it. No one should be manipulated or forced into getting professional help, unless they are in imminent danger to themselves or someone else. In those cases emergency professions are often the best immediate links to helping people in crisis situation (911, hospitals, child protective services, crisis hotlines, etc.).
How do you view spirituality in counseling?
Our spirituality shapes the way we look at things and gives us a worldview. This is a key part of making the decision to seek help. Many mental health approaches avoid this arena of life or promote their own belief systems. True health (thriving) means addressing all of our realities- including our physical, relational, and spiritual world. It is reasonable for "help seekers" to expect that "people helpers" have training & practical wisdom about these matters. However, most of us don't want to be preached at by religious people, judged, or psychiatrically labeled when seeking help.
The professional’s job is to meet people "where they are at" and give guidance according to training and competency (based on professional ethical standards). When done well, we can create environments that are honest, supportive, insightful, private, and will enable people to thrive to their fullest capabilities. I seek to honor my professional ethical standards especially by respecting people of different faiths or worldviews. However, in doing so I will not betray my own beliefs and values. My desire is to think biblically about people, problems, and the healing process. I have studied under great people, in great institutions, who address theological tension points and create a robust frameworks for the type of services I provide.
So, if you need help, reach out. I'm here if you need it.