Frequently Asked Questions on Counseling and Psychotherapy
by Stephen Nicholas, LCSW
Why do people come to counseling?
People come to counseling when their usual ways of resolving problems in not working. Their personal experience has become so uncomfortable that they see no other choice then to seek an outside consultant to help them feel better.
What are the main reasons people seek counseling?
The top reasons people come to see me are when they are tires of feeling anxious, depressed, and/or angry. Usually relationships at home work and with friends have deteriorated in a serious fashion and they don't want to make it worse anymore, they want to make these relationships work better. And they want to feel better, calmer, looking forward to their days, and relationships.
Do you specialize in certain kinds of problems?
Yes, I specialize in resolving trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Beyond helping folks with their problems, I also help people in what I call peak performance counseling and becoming more emotionally intelligent. In this approach there is a focus on getting more satisfaction from work, family, and other relationships. The focus isn't on problems but increasing satisfaction and enjoyment.
Why can't I just figure it out myself?
Many times we can and do figure out these important issues out by ourselves. Counseling is appropriate when you have not been able to think your way through a problem.
What do you do as a counselor that is different than what a friend may do for me?
Usually friends offer advice, an effective counselor doesn't usually give advice. Hey you've already tried all the easy ideas, yes? In my practice I use a variety of effective treatment methods which are many times called such names as brief therapy, solution oriented therapy, generative trance, trauma resolution and integration therapy. You can look through my Relational Drawing techniques and read more about my work on other pages on this site.
I don't want to have to re-experience all my old problems again, isn't that what you'll do when I have a session with you?
Absolutely not. Effective trauma, and PTSD treatment is not about re-experiencing those difficult parts of your past. It is creating a healthy and healing relationship to these events and memories. An important element of my treatment is helping people understand what their feelings both pleasant and unpleasant mean, and how to work with the unpleasant feelings, like fear, anger, confusion and such is a simple and effective way. Working with your feelings in resourceful ways is called emotional intelligence. Becoming more emotionally intelligent make a big difference with resolving symptomatic feelings, like anger, anxiety, panic, depression, and such. These feelings result when we try to make these basic feelings just go away. Feelings are signals, they have a message for our conscious mind, and when we don't acknowledge this message or signal that is the beginning of how these uncomfortable feelings become problems for us. I help you learn how to understand these signals or messages so those feelings don't become problems.
You identify yourself as LCSW, other counselors, MFT, PC or Psychologist. What is the difference in these names?
The difference is the type of professional state license one has earned. Mine is called a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Others have a Marriage and Family Therapy license, or a Personal Counselor license or a Psychologist license. The Educational requirements differ between, as does the scope of practice between the different state licenses.