Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I expect at my first appointment?
During your first session you will be greeted by the counselor you are seeing. The counselor will get to know you and explore what prompted you to see a counselor. They will never judge your actions or your reasons for seeking support. Their questions are always intended to give them a better understanding of your background, your current situation, and your emotional status. Your input regarding what you hope to achieve through counseling is an important part of planning the next steps. If possible, please bring any records of prior medical or psychiatric treatment.
Q: How long and how many times a week is a typical session?
Sessions are usually 45 or 60 minutes. Most clients are seen once or twice a week in the beginning, then, as time goes on, less frequently. The number of sessions depends on what your current needs are.
Q: How long will I be in counseling?
The length of time a client is in counseling depends on the nature of the problem, and the goals of the counseling. Some clients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a set amount of sessions. For others, counseling is an on-going process, and they choose to receive sessions for a longer period of time.
Q: What if I want couples counseling, but my partner won't come?
Unfortunately, sometimes one partner is not as willing as the other to come in for counseling. However, we often find that it is possible to improve the relationship with just one person involved in counseling.
Q: How much are your fees and do you take insurance?
Your fee depends on the kinds of services you request. You can learn more about the insurances we accept, fees for services, methods of payment, and general payment policy on the Services Page. Please read the Clients Page to better understand how to use your health insurance benefits.
Q: Do I need to take medications?
As counselors and therapists, we are not allowed to prescribe medications. However, based on a joint assessment of problems you are facing, it may be advisable to consult with a psychiatrist (medical doctor) to determine whether medication is warranted. Typically, clients see someone in-network with their health insurance plan or we can refer you to a local psychiatrist.
Q: What is the difference between a LMFT, LISW, Psychologist (PhD or PsyD), and Psychiatrist (MD)?
LMFT: Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) are licensed mental health professionals who work with individuals; couples - whether or not married; families of all types; and groups to cure or relieve mental, emotional, and relational concerns of all kinds. LMFTs work in a variety of settings throughout South Carolina, and the rest of the country providing mental health services, as well as provide services in independent practice. LMFTs have minimally acquired two-year master's degrees, 3,000 hours of supervised experience, and have passed two rigorous exams.
Source: California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
LISW: Licensed Independent Social Worker has a master's degree in clinical social work. Their emphasis is on primary services in psychosocial diagnosis, assessment and treatment, client advocacy, consultation, evaluation and research.
Psychologist (PhD or PsyD): Possesses a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field with a license to practice therapy. Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience. Some psychologists do basic research, developing theories and testing them through carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation, and analysis. Other psychologists apply the discipline's scientific knowledge to help people, organizations, and communities function better.
Source: American Psychological Association
Psychiatrist (MD): A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological disturbance. A psychiatrist has completed medical school (MD or DO) and has an additional four or more years of residency training in psychiatry. People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attack, or frightening hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing "voices." Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness and hopelessness or anxious feelings that never seem to lift, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.
Source: American Psychiatric Association
Q: What is an LPC and an LPC/A?
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) utilize the principles of integrated strategies including, but not limited to cognitive, behavioral, or systemic interventions in order to address the needs of the client. The primary purpose of counseling is to empower the client to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience personal growth, and make well-informed, rational decisions." (U.S. Dept. of Human Services, Mental Health, United States, 2002)
The state of South Carolina has two levels of licensing; a provisionally licensed counselor (LPC/A) and a fully licensed counselor (LPC). By completing educational and examination requirements, an individual can apply to become a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPC/A) through the South Carolina's licensing board. The LPC/A then goes through a period of clinical supervision by a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC/S or a fully licensed counselor). After fulfilling the requirements of supervised practice, the LPC/A is eligible for licensure as a fully Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).