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Is personal counseling right for me?

People come to therapy for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing issues, or problems related to anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to sudden or unexpected changes in life like a school transition or the end of a relationship. Many seek the guidance of a therapist as a way of pursuing personal exploration and growth. Therapy can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for life’s challenges. Therapy is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and life adjustment issues. Therapy can be helpful for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.

Do I really need personal counseling? I can usually handle my problems

To live is to be challenged by difficult situations, and while you may have successfully overcome other difficulties you’ve faced, there is nothing wrong with seeking additional support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize that they need some help, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting your place in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking personal counseling. Personal counseling can provide long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging relational patterns, and overcome whatever challenges life presents.  

How can personal counseling help me?

Personal counseling can provide a number of benefits. Therapists can offer support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping skills for issues like depression, anxiety, conflicted relationships, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body-image issues and creative blocks. Many people find their therapist to be a wonderful asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage problems, and daily life hassles. Therapists can provide you with a new perspective on difficult problems or guide you in the direction of a solution. The benefits of personal counseling largely depend on how well you utilize the process and put into practice skills learned in session. Some benefits include:
  • Attaining a better self-understanding, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence  

What is personal counseling like?

Every personal counseling session is unique and is based on the needs of the individual and their goals. It is common for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during first session. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts about fifty minutes. Personal counseling at SAC is short-term, focusing on specific issues. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of therapy sessions, such as reading a book or keeping records of certain behaviors. It is important to process what has discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. In order for therapy to be most effective for you, you must be an active participant, both during and between sessions. People seeking therapy are willing to take responsibility for their behaviors, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in lives. Here is what you can expect from therapy:
  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Is personal counseling confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
  • However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
    • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
    • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
    • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: