WHAT IS COUNSELING?
The American Counseling Association (ACA) defines counseling as “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” In more personal terms, counseling provides an unbiased, warm, and accepting environment for people of all ages who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships, emotional struggles, and/or life changes or transitions. Counseling provides a warm and accepting atmosphere for people to explore their strengths and learn how to cope with life’s problems.
ISN’T COUNSELING JUST FOR THE MENTALLY ILL?
Thankfully, no! We can all benefit from counseling. Average, every-day people seek counseling to help learn how to deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs, and your efforts to seek help indicate your strength and emotional health, not illness.
ISN’T TALKING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS THE SAME THING AS COUNSELING?
It’s great to have family and friends to talk to! However, it’s possible that leaning too heavily on family and friends could add more stress to the problem, straining your support system when you need it the most. More importantly, talking to family and friends does not serve the same purpose as seeing a counselor. Relationships with family and friends are usually give and take relationships. In counseling, the focus is on you and meeting your needs. A counselor is unbiased and will provide feedback to you that your family or friends may not be comfortable providing. A counselor is trained to use therapeutic skills and techniques and her own wisdom and life experience to help you grow and change. Another key difference is that a counselor is bound by a code of ethics that protect your privacy.
Those who seek professional help early, being proactive rather than reactive, generally find counseling takes a shorter amount of time and lesser amount of resources.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I/MY FAMILY WOULD BENEFIT FROM COUNSELING?
We are convinced counseling can be beneficial, but the benefits you receive will largely depend on your willingness to deal openly and honestly with the issues that affect your life.
We want life to be full of happiness, joy, love, and contentment, but sometimes it’s full of challenges, setbacks, disappointments, and heartache. If you and/or your family are struggling with life’s ups and downs, seeking counseling is a demonstration of your strength and commitment to personal growth and emotional health. Often people enter counseling as a last resort, when they have tried everything they know to do, but nothing provides lasting change. Some people have learned through personal experience, or from the experience of others, that being proactive can ease some of the pains of life’s ups and downs. Whether you have exhausted all of your emotional resources or if you see problems on the horizon, you can benefit from the confidential accepting atmosphere counseling can offer.
HOW MUCH DOES COUNSELING COST?
We offer a wide variety of services to meet your needs, and therefore fees vary depending on the kind of service(s) you receive and who provides that service. Scholarships are available as well. The most important thing to remember is that we want to help. If we are unable to meet your needs for any reason, we want to help you find services that will.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?
Call 972-886-8375 to set up a time for your free phone consultation.
HOW LONG ARE THE SESSIONS?
Sessions are typically 50 minutes for adults. For young children, the session will be shorter, and for families, sometimes sessions will be longer.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE THE TIME FOR COUNSELING?
Counseling does take time out of your already busy schedule. Unfortunately, so do problems. Problems rob hours by way of conflict, worry, and sadness. Every day has the same amount of hours built in it, and investing 50 minutes on a weekly or every other week basis to learn how to effectively manage problems in your life is a worthwhile investment of your time.
HOW LONG AND OFTEN WILL I/MY FAMILY BE IN COUNSELING?
It depends. Several factors can determine how long counseling takes, including the severity of the problem and your openness and willingness to work toward change. Counseling is a choice—your choice. One great thing about counseling is that you can decide how long you will be in it!
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED AND WHERE DO I PARK?
Our offices are located in McKinney, TX. Click here for a map and directions. There is free street parking and lots close by.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST SESSION?
Your first session will be an “intake” session, which means you will have a chance to get to know your counselor and your counselor will have a chance to get to know you and your concerns. This will be a time that you can decide whether we are the right fit for you. If we aren’t, we want to match you with someone who can best meet your specific needs.
WHAT IS PLAY THERAPY?
Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play. Play is children’s natural means of expression and helps them to express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words.
DOES MY CHILD NEED PLAY THERAPY?
Most children experience difficulty at different times in their lives, such as the death of someone close, divorce of their parents, trouble making friends, or adjusting to changes at school or home. Some children need more help than others to get through these times. If you or other significant people in your child’s life are concerned about your child’s behavior, play therapy can help. Play therapy is the most appropriate treatment for helping your child work through complex emotions and behaviors, as well as helping you gain a better understanding of what your child is going through.
WHAT TOYS ARE IN A PLAY ROOM AND WHY?
To facilitate creative and emotional expression for children, toys are carefully selected for the play therapy room. A variety of toys, including arts and crafts, can be used in many different ways, and therefore allows creative expression and decision-making.
WHY PLAY THERAPY?
For children who are having difficulties coping with life situations, play therapy is the most appropriate method of treatment. Children may lack the cognitive skills to express themselves using words; however, children are fluent in the language of play. Play therapy allows them to express themselves in a way that is most comfortable for them.
HOW LONG DO CHILDREN REMAIN IN PLAY THERAPY?
It depends. The length of time a child is seen in play therapy varies from child to child, depending on the child’s specific circumstances and severity. This can be discussed with your child’s play therapist.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLAY THERAPY AND MY CHILD PLAYING AT HOME?
A trained play therapist in a play therapy room creates an environment for the child to feel free to use his or her natural tendency to play, and therefore “play out” their emotions in a safe setting. A play therapist can help a child gain a sense of control or understanding of his or her behavior and reactions to difficult situations.
HOW MUCH DOES PLAY THERAPY TYPICALLY COST?
We offer a wide variety of services to meet your child’s needs, and therefore fees vary depending on the kind of service(s) you receive. The cost will also vary, depending on your insurance provider. Scholarships are available, too. The most important thing to remember is that we want to help you and your child. If we are not the right place, for whatever reason, we can help you find services that best fit your needs.
WHAT IS GROUP PLAY THERAPY?
Similar to individual play therapy, group play therapy provides an environment of acceptance, empathy and understanding; however, there are usually between 2 and 4 children who spend their play therapy time together with one or more play therapist. Group play therapy provides children with the opportunity to learn and practice social skills in situations that are similar to real life social situations.
CAN I WATCH MY CHILD IN PLAY THERAPY?
Just like for adults, privacy in counseling is important to children. Your child’s connection to his or her therapist is linked to that privacy. Without privacy, your child’s therapist can’t gain your child’s trust. Without trust, counseling will not be effective. So although there are exceptions, what your child shares in a play session will be kept confidential. However, your child’s play therapist will meet with you to discuss your child’s play in general themes, hear your concerns, and talk about any questions you may have related to your child’s progress.
CAN A PLAY THERAPIST TELL ME IF MY CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED?
While building a relationship with your child, your child’s play therapist will watch for themes in his or her play throughout the course of the play sessions. Often what comes out and what is expressed by a child in play therapy, is what an experience means to the child, and not necessarily details of abuse, or any other traumatic event. Over time, your child’s play therapist may or may not be able to observe enough information to either support or contradict an assumption you may have regarding abuse; however, it’s important to understand that the purpose of counseling is not to investigate abuse. Instead, counseling is to help heal.