FAQs

Why Do People Consider Counseling?

People go to counseling and therapy for a variety of reasons. Often, people seek therapy for the first time because someone close to them–a family member, friend or doctor–has suggested they get help. Others seek counseling because they have identified specific goals or issues that they wish to work on.

There is virtually no “right” or “wrong” reason to enlist the help of a mental health professional. The help of the counselor who is right for you can promote self-actualization, empower self-growth, improve relationships and reduce emotional suffering. A therapist or counselor is there to work with you collaboratively on whatever is most distressing or important to you, without passing judgment. Often in counseling, a client and a counselor will explore much more than just the client’s initial presenting problem–that is, the main problem that brought the client to therapy. If you choose to attend therapy, then you and your counselor, together, will determine counseling goals and how we can begin to meet those goals.

Can Counseling Help Me?

Yes. The vast majority of people find counseling to be very helpful. Counseling can help provide relief from distressing symptoms that are limiting your life. As you resolve issues and build greater resiliency, counseling can create alertness and focus and allow you to access deep wisdom and knowledge about your values, strengths and needs. In addition, it can help you to access your full potential, improve your relationships and create the fulfilled and fulfilling life that you want.

Counseling requires effort and commitment from both you as a client and me as your counselor. It also requires you to be honest and open with yourself, as well as with me. My job is to create a safe and conducive place for you to access and share your most authentic self. Together, through our collaborative efforts, we will work not only toward symptom relief, but also insight, harmony, balance and wisdom.

Will Friends and Family Think I Am Crazy If They Know I’m Seeing A Counselor?

The belief that those who go to counseling are “crazy” or “damaged” is false. Most people who see a therapist or counselor are ordinary people struggling with everyday, human problems, such as depressionanxietytrauma, grief and loss, relationship issues, divorce, an empty nest, retirement or other transitions. If you are afraid of being judged by others or by your own inner critic for going to counseling, then therapy would be especially useful in building self-esteem and freeing you from the limitations of what others think.

I Have Friends – Isn’t Counseling For People Who Have No One To Talk To?

Both people who have few friends and those with a wide circle of friends seek counseling. In many respects, the relationship you have with your therapist is different from the ones you have with friends or family members. You can expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens attentively, models a healthy and positive relationship experience, spends time on your issues and goals, gives you appropriate feedback and follows ethical guidelines. Confidentiality and trust are the foundations of the therapeutic relationship. A therapist can provide professional, objective perspective that is often not possible with those closest to you. And, a therapist has the skills needed to help you make connections between your experiences, investigate your emotions and problem solve in your life.

Will My Counselor Tell Me What To Do?

No. The relationship is a collaborative one. Together, you and I will set goals and determine how best you might reach those goals. Rather than telling you what to do or giving advice, I will help you discover your own best course.

Will I Have To Take Medication?

Your medical doctor might recommend medication in addition to talking to a counselor. Your doctor (a psychiatrist is the specialist in this area) will collaborate with you on this matter. With your permission, your doctor and I can share our opinions. If your doctor prescribes medication, it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s recommendations closely. For example, do not stop taking an antidepressant abruptly because you are feeling better.

Will I Be In Counseling Forever?

Therapy can be a brief intervention dealing with a specific issue. Alternatively, if you are dealing with depression or PTSD, for example, our work together could take longer. You are free to stop therapy at any time. Ideally, you and I, together, will decide to conclude counseling or change the schedule. Often people will return to therapy when new issues surface.

Will A Counselor Judge My Behavior?

My role is to understand and help you, not to judge you. I accept you as you are in the present time. You can tell me whatever is on your mind, knowing that you are in a safe and confidential setting

Confidentiality With State And Federal Laws

In general, state and federal laws protect the privacy of all communications between a client and a counselor or psychotherapist. Information about our work will only be released with your written consent. There are, however, a few, very infrequent exceptions. You should be aware of the following requirements I must meet by law:

  • If a judge issues an order for release of records.
  • To report allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, elder, or vulnerable adult (i.e.) disabled) to the state of Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline.
  • To initiate involuntary hospitalization and/or contact family/significant others to help protect a client who is at imminent risk of self-harm or harm to others.
  • To notify intended victim, and/or law enforcement personnel, if a client presents a clear and substantial risk of self-harm or to harm others.
  • To report a crime committed on the premises of, or against the person of, Marilyn Halls.
  • If a client files a complaint against this practice, relevant information may be disclosed as a part of defense proceedings.
  • To assist medical personnel to provide treatment in a legitimate medical emergency, only if the client is unable to give such information.
Confidentiality With Colleagues

Our relationship is confidential. However, because I am completing my hours for licensure, I consult with my supervisor, Kelly Hunt MA, LMHC. My supervisor is also legally bound to keep your information confidential. You may contact Ms. Hunt with any questions at (941) 527 8900 or email her at kwhuntlmhc@hotmail.com.

How Do I Set Up My Free Consultation?

If you feel that I may be able to help you move from struggling to embracing life with greater ease and confidence, then do give me a call at (941) 305 1235 to discuss your particular situation.

I offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation either on the phone or at my office, located in downtown Sarasota. You can sign up for the free consultation by contacting me on my Contact page.

You can also email me at marilynhalls17@gmail.com if you have further questions.