The Blog

What is counseling, anyways?

Our community is becoming more aware of the importance of mental health and more people than ever are seeking counseling. You may have been curious about seeking counseling to improve your mental health, but if you haven’t been to counseling before, you may be asking yourself “what is counseling, anyways” and “what should I expect if I attend counseling?”

Well, mental health counseling is where trained professionals offer services to clients seeking assistance in navigating challenges that are impacting their lives. People seek counseling for many different life challenges from the impact of discrimination, generalized anxiety, depression, identity issues, religious trauma, eating disorders, relationship issues…and the list goes on!

Counseling is a collaborative process between a counselor and their client aimed at promoting personal growth, mental health, and well-being.

The therapeutic relationship (the relationship between the counselor and client) is crucial to the healing process of counseling. Counselors create a safe and confidential space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They create a trusting relationship and provide a safe space, empathy, and non-judgmental support for the client to explore their current issues. It is incredibly important that you feel safe and affirmed in your relationship with your counselor.

Counselors use different approaches and you should find the one that feels the best fit for you. Counselors will tailor their approach to meet the unique needs and goals of each client. For example, some counselors use a person-centered approach where they focus on creating the therapeutic relationship and a safe space for clients to discuss their feelings and become self-aware of their roadblocks. Some may be certified in EMDR, a type of therapy that uses rapid eye movements to help clients process their trauma. Others may utilize play therapy to find creative ways to help the client work through their issues.

Most counselors will begin with an intake session, where the counselor asks questions to learn about you and your current concerns. From there, you will collaboratively create a treatment plan to work towards your goals. Throughout the counseling process, your counselor will be monitoring your progress and discussing with you how you are working towards your goals.

Counseling is about you, so feel free to discuss with your counselor if something doesn’t feel like it’s working for you.

A common concern with counseling is confidentiality. Counselors are ethically bound to keep your sessions confidential and will provide an informed consent at the beginning of counseling to address the limitations to confidentiality. Others are concerned about the stigma behind counseling. However, counseling is very normal. It is not just for severe issues and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is brave and honorable to take the step towards your mental wellness. Some people are concerned about the cost or time commitment of counseling. Both are very valid concerns, but you can discuss these with your counselor. Often times, counselors can offer a sliding scale (income-based payment) for cost concerns and you can find a counselor that fits with your schedule.

Reaching out for support is a courageous and empowering decision. If you feel counseling could benefit you, take the first step and reach out for a consultation.

If you’d like to schedule a free phone consultation with me, head to and click “take the first step.” We can chat and see if we’d be a good fit, or I can refer you to a counselor that may be a better fit for you. Either way, I’m proud of you for making this decision!

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