What Is Counseling?
Everyone, at some time, struggles with life's challenges; whether the challenge involves facing a new life transition, coping with day-to-day stresses, dealing with family problems or communicating with a loved one. Sometimes it helps to reach out for support and new ideas to more effectively handle these issues.
With each counseling client, I strive to help them use their own resources and strengths to meet their goals. We work together to develop treatment goals that fit their needs. I feel that one of the most important tools that I bring to psychotherapy sessions is my ability to listen deeply to each client's story and then to reflect back objectively what I hear. Clients often report that this is one of the most helpful parts of the therapy process and that it helps them to make sense of their own situation, thus enabling them to find their own solutions.
What Can Counseling Do For You?
I provide psychotherapy services for:
I can help with concerns such as:
- anger management
- childhood trauma
- divorce/blended families
- family relations/communication
- life transitions
- relationship issues
- stress management
- women's issues
- work stress
Your insurance may cover some of the costs of counseling services. Please check with your insurance carrier to find out about your coverage.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, it can be very helpful to work with a knowledgeable therapist. Whether you are faced with the anxiety of a new diagnosis and treatment planning, dealing with survivorship issues, or handling the challenges of advanced disease and/or end-of-life issues, I can help. With over 10 years of experience working with cancer patients and their caregivers, I can help bring perspective as well as provide tools to help you manage your situation. We can process the complex emotions which accompany a cancer diagnosis, including fear, anxiety, anger, and disbelief. We can also use the tools of guided imagery and hypnosis to help you get the best results from your treatment (chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation) as well as helping to support your body’s innate healing systems. Together, we can forge a path forward.
HOLISTIC COUNSELING: AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR HAPPINESS AND POTENTIAL
By Lora Hanna, L.I.S.W. And Donna Sigl-Davies, M.A., P.C.C
The field of counseling has matured tremendously over the years. Rather than a stigma existing for people to "get help", now it is quite acceptable for people to seek counseling for all sorts of issues. Part of what is facilitating this change has been the growth of a counseling niche referred to as Holistic Counseling. While a relatively small group of therapists refer to themselves as holistic counselors, the response from clients and the validation from research are extremely positive. What makes holistic counseling special?
Holistic counseling is first a philosophical stance which emphasizes working with you as a whole person, not just as a medical diagnosis. The process starts with skilled, compassionate listening and a deep sense of presence, creating a safe place where you feel heard and understood and can explore your concerns. In the therapeutic relationship, we will explore your passions and what brings meaning to your life. We will emphasize your strengths and enhance your relationship with your body, Spirit, friends and family.
The therapeutic relationship is more one of facilitating versus prescribing, with the therapist maintaining a steadfast belief in your potential for growth and wholeness. You might come to holistic counseling with a specific problem to address, but find the process so transformative that you ultimately reinvent yourself and find a deeper sense of joy and meaning in your life.
Just as a seed needs ideal conditions in order to develop into a healthy and thriving plant, certain factors are necessary to nurture you in your healing and growth:
- You need to be able to choose your own therapist based upon your own criteria, not based upon who agrees to accept managed care discounts and regulations. You may choose your therapist on the recommendation of a trusted referral source, due to their area of specialization, or because of your rapport with a particular therapist.
- Holistic therapists provide you with a much higher quality of therapeutic presence and more individual attention because they can afford to work with a smaller caseload when then are paid their full fee. Managed care's deeply discounted rates, required paperwork, and time spent on billing and collections usually mean that the average managed care therapist has to see many more people and spend less time and energy on each client in order to earn a living. Many managed care therapists are rushed, not fully focused, stressed, and may have interruptions in your sessions.
- You (not your insurance company) need to be in the driver's seat in developing your treatment plan. Participating in adjunct therapies such as yoga and other forms of body work, for example, are encouraged and integrated into counseling sessions. You do not need to be seen as "sick" to receive services from a holistic counselor. When you're not dependent on managed care's payment for services, you can work on any issue you choose, the way would like to, and for as long as you like.
Both the philosophical stance and the conditions necessary for holistic counseling put your happiness and satisfaction as the ultimate goal. While other forms of counseling may address symptoms, holistic counseling emphasizes personal growth and transformation. Just as you plan for and invest in your future with education and a retirement savings plan, holistic counseling is an investment you can make to improve your happiness and maximize your quality of life.
Donna Sigl-Davies, MA, PCC, provides counseling, Women's Circles and retreats for people reinventing themselves. She specializes in teens, couples/family therapy, integrating mind-body-spirit, mindfulness, simplicity and eco-feminist spirituality. You can reach Donna at 614-431-5944.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR THERAPY EXPERIENCE
By Lora Hanna, L.I.S.W.
How does therapy work?
The purpose of therapy is to help you make positive change in your life. This includes changes in your feelings, attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, and life situation.
The process of therapy begins with skilled, compassionate listening which creates a safe place where you can feel heard and understood as you begin to discuss your situation. We will explore your strengths and passions as well as your concerns.
We will then set goals, both short-term and long-term, and map out an action plan (called a “treatment plan”) to help you reach those goals. Your action plan may include experimenting with different ways of thinking, trying different behaviors, enhancing your support system, and/or learning to go inside yourself to access inner resources of insight, creativity and strength. Your plan may also include various actions or techniques to practice between sessions or issues to think about. This between-session work can help you to make much faster progress toward your goals.
Therapy is not a “quick fix”--it is a commitment to a process of ongoing change and growth. While some people experience some relief and positive change in the very first sessions, most people find that to make lasting change, they need to commit to the process of therapy for a period of time. This allows the necessary time to let the positive changes (new thoughts, feelings and behaviors) to feel comfortable and really become a part of you. Many studies show that the amount of benefit a person receives from therapy increases in direct proportion with the number of sessions attended.
How can I get the most out of treatment?
There are several factors that will increase the value you receive from each therapy session. These include:
- Arrive on time. This allows you to receive your full 50 minutes of therapy. If you arrive late, your session will be shortened accordingly.
- Attend each session. Each session builds upon progress made in previous sessions. When too much time passes between sessions, it's almost like starting at the beginning each time (the exception is toward the end of treatment when sessions can be spaced out for maintenance of progress and gains). Just like when you are learning a new sport or a musical instrument, regular practice and reinforcement is essential to mastering your new skills.
- Follow through on between-session assignments. This allows you to incorporate new skills and behaviors much more quickly and maximizes the benefit you receive from treatment. The more you work on your goals outside of session, the quicker you will reach them.
- Address any concerns or questions with me directly. This allows us to clear up any issues or misunderstandings before they interfere with your progress and allows us to work together as a team. If something isn't working for you or feels uncomfortable, we can discuss alternative approaches that may be a better fit for you.
- Pay on time and give adequate notice for cancellations. By respecting my time and being responsible about payment, this allows us to use your sessions to focus on your growth, not on policy and payment issues.
- Focus on what you would like to accomplish before each session. By thinking and prioritizing ahead of time about what is most important for us to address each week, we will use each session in the most productive way for you.
- Be curious. Those clients who read or research about their issues and want to learn as much as possible about ways to improve their situation will usually make the most progress.