Questions to Ask a Therapist or Counselor in Lancaster, PA

Even though awareness about the importance of mental health and counseling have increased significantly in Lancaster, PA, finding the right therapist can still be daunting. One of the challenges some clients talk about is the fear of the first phone call. It takes great courage to pick up the phone and dial a counselor and ask for help. But once you dial those seven digits, what do you talk about during the phone consultation? It can be so easy for your mind to go blank. If you worry that this might happen to you, here are a few questions to help you remember that your wise self knows whom will be a good fit for you and also that you are interviewing your potential therapist just as much as they are interviewing you.

questions to ask a therapist in lancaster pa

Here are a few questions to ask your potential mental health counselor.

  1. If I’m going to be your client, what will our sessions be like? How do you work with clients?

    Besides putting your mind at ease by having a sense of what a session would be like, you can get a feel for the therapist by how they describe a session with a client. Some therapists are directive and outline specific steps or strategies that that they utilize with clients. Some therapists are more collaborative and co-create their work with clients. And some therapists are a little bit of both. When you hear the therapist describe how they work, notice your body response. Does the still small voice in you say yes or do you find yourself closing down?

  2. What is your background, and how will that help you to help me?

    Sure, you can read the list of trainings and see the number of years a therapist has practiced, but seeking the specific ways that a therapist’s background can meet your problem is important for you and the help you seek. Again, simply listening to and for your own response to the therapist’s answer will give you a lot of information about a right fit.

  3. Have you ever been in therapy yourself?

    I believe that one of the most vital ingredients to being a therapist is having been on the other side of the couch. When you learn that a therapist has been in therapy you learn several important details like the therapist will know what it’s like to be a client and that the therapist has committed to their own journey of growth and healing. How does the therapist respond to this question? Again, taking a few moments to notice the reply and your own reaction will give you a lot information.

  4. How do you define therapy?

    Believe it or not,. therapy can be defined differently by different counselors. For some, therapy is about the relationship between therapist and client or client and client. Although psychoeducation and techniques are taught and utilized, the therapy room becomes a place to experience the changes. The relationship in the room becomes a place to experiment, explore, and grow. In other instances, therapy becomes like a classroom where you learn different strategies, take them out into the world, and come back to process how “life out there” went. Knowing yourself, which approach resonates most with you?

  5. What are your strengths as a therapist?

    Just as the therapist will want to learn about your resources and strengths, it is helpful for you to know what your therapist sees as their unique gifts. Having an idea of the qualities that your therapist brings into the therapy room can help you understand if this person will be a good fit for working with you for the specific challenges you want to examine and resolve.

Here are a few questions to ask your prospective therapist. If you are still feeling confused, overwhelmed, or burdened, please feel free to call be at 717-966-1210 for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to hear what you’re struggling with or against and help direct you to the right person.

Finding a Therapist in Lancaster, PA

In fact, Lancaster City has become more than a tourist spot but a home that offers both the feel of urban living and a deep connection to history and the past. However, finding a progressive coach, therapist, or counselor who has availability is not always easy. If you’re looking for a mental health professional, I’d like to help you find someone that can help you.

What Can You Expect if You Choose Me for Couples Counseling?

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IF YOU CHOOSE ME AS YOUR COUPLES THERAPIST?

  • A welcoming and open presence

  • Attention to the mind, body, spirit, connection

  • Encouragement to explore your relationships—both past and present

  • Input in crafting and achieving your unique goals, hopes, and dreams

  • Inclusion of spiritual and meditation practices as part of our work together if you choose

  • Inclusion of experiential and art activities if you choose

  • Option to add co-created ritual to honor your growth and transition

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM OUR COUNSELING SESSIONS?

Entering counseling is a challenging and exciting experience.  Like all good relationships, I believe that a counseling relationship starts slowly with time spent on getting to know one another.  Your initial three to four sessions will be a time of exploring your life journey, expanding upon your hopes and desires for counseling, and collaborating on ways that counseling can assist you in achieving your desires.  As we proceed, sessions include conversation, silence, and questions with the options of including more holistic and integrative modalities. I specifically draw from Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Contextual Family Therapy, and contemplative spiritual practices.

Pre-Marital and Wedding Resources for LGBTQ Couples in Lancaster, PA

LGBTQ pre-marital couples can struggle to find open and supportive vendors when planning their wedding. Does the yes I will work with you mean a begrudging accommodation or a whole-hearted yes we are so excited to work with you? Below is list of LGBTQ supportive and affirming vendors in Lancaster, PA. They welcome working with LGBTQ pre-marital couples as they prepare for their wedding day.

Larger Venues

Smaller Venues

Bed and Breakfasts

Houses of Worship

Photographers

Videographers

Music and Musicians

Cakes and Cupcakes

Florists

Clothing and Make-Up

Favors

Wedding Planners

Stepfamily 101--The Insider Outsider Dynamic

Did you know that according to the US Bureau of Census over 50% of families in the USA are re-coupled or remarriages? In fact 1 out of every three children will spend some or all of their childhood growing up in a stepfamily. Although stepfamilies are common today, not many of us are aware of how the structure and dynamics of stepfamilies and recoupled families are different than first time families.

Is Your Relationship Calling 9-1-1?

Is Your Relationship Calling 9-1-1?

The average couples experiences 6 years of distress BEFORE reaching out for help. So if waiting 6 years is too long, just how much distress is enough before you seek support? How do you know when to cry when?

It's the Little Things

Couple Care: You've heard people say--"it's the little things..." There is truth to this. Enhance the emotional climate with these 5 "little things."

If you’d like help developing the “little things” in your relationship, contact me.

Getting Smart about Smartphones in Intimate Relationships

Technology has been a gift in so many ways. It can help you fill your relationship well. It can also deplete it and lead to draught. Here are a few tips for engaging technology in ways to enhance your relationship.

If technology has become the “third person” in your relationship and you desire strategies to help you create boundaries with technology, contact me.

Pre-Marital Counseling is an Investment in Your Future

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How much would you invest in your relationship before marriage to decrease your likelihood of divorce? 

 $100, $1,000, 2,000 maybe more?

 Did you know that couples who participate in premarital counseling and coaching reduce the likelihood of divorce by over 30-50%?[1]   In fact, couples who invest in premarital counseling report having higher relationship satisfaction in their marriages.  In general, couples report that premarital counseling not only enhances their commitment to the relationship, but it also creates an affirming and bonding experience.[2] 

 One of the reasons premarital counseling may contribute higher relationship satisfaction and lower divorce rates is about intention and investment.  Although they get blended together, the wedding event and the marriage are actually two distinct things:

 The wedding is a wonderful day to celebrate the milestone in the life of a couple and the significance this milestone has to family, friends, and community.

 The marriage is the relationship itself—although it existed before the wedding, the ritual of the wedding births the relationship into a new stage—the two “me’s” have officially become “we.”  And like all birthing processes, all moments are not easy, smooth, or easily controlled. 

 When a couple invests in pre-marital counseling, they are making an investment in the process of going from me to we.  This process allows them to be intentional in the wedding process.  It also establishes patterns and practices needed to sustain the marriage.  This emotional investment becomes a nest egg in the relationship bank account, and the practices regularly make deposits that will help sustain the couple over time.

  If you are engaged, invest in yourselves and your relationship with pre-marital counseling.  To learn more about premarital counseling and to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact me.


[1] Kepler, Amanda. (2015). Marital Satisfaction: The Impact of Premarital and Couples Counseling. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: https://sophia.stkate.edu/msw_papers/474

 

[2] LaMotte, E.  (2014).  A Case for Pre-Marital Counseling.  Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/a-case-for-premarital-counseling_b_5185620

 

The Gift of Premarital Counseling for Modern Relationships

Whether you’ve been together a couple of years or many years….

Whether you’ve lived separately or together…

Whether you’re in a heterosexual or a same sex relationship…

Whether you’ve never been married before or this is your second or third time…

Premarital Counseling is a gift to give yourselves and your relationship. 

You might be wondering why anyone would want to participate in premarital counseling—isn’t it just a “test” that clergy put you though to see if you’re a good fit?  Or is there some test related to sex?  Perhaps it’s always seemed like a way to get people to join a faith community. 

Contemporary premarital counseling is much less about rules, regulations, or membership, and much more about creating an intentional space to cultivate your couple culture.  Premarital counseling is like research and preparation you do before venturing to a foreign country.  Because in many ways—each marriage is just that—a foreign country.  It is a country that will be settled by the two of you.  Its culture will be created and generated by the two of you.  Premarital Counseling is the time to have intentional conversations about what really matters to each of you in the presence of a third person that can help each of you. 

 Premarital counseling also provides you with a person to help you keep your eyes on the marriage—ultimately that is what your wedding day is about—your marriage.  In today’s consumer driven world, it is easy to get lost in the whirlwind of wedding upgrades and additions.  Premarital counseling becomes a grounding place for the two of you to share your hopes and desires—for your marriage and then to be specific about how those hopes and desire can be lived out on your wedding day.  With an idea of your values, a budget, and a third party to assist you in reaming true to your intentions, the two of you can sail through the whirlwind toward your destination of marriage.

 As you move toward your destination, premarital counseling will also assist you in what to bring with you from the past.  In addition to the whirlwind of the wedding industry, weddings tend to stir up storms in your families of origin.  Weddings are big moments for the whole family, and well meaning relatives often have well-meaning pieces of advice to assist you in your big day.  Premarital counseling is a place for you and your beloved to share openly about these challenges.  It also provides safe space for the two of you to discuss what traditions and rituals to bring into your new territory and which traditions you wish to bless and release. 

 If you are engaged, give yourself and your relationship, the gift of premarital counseling.  To learn more about premarital counseling and to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact me.

 

Premarital Counseling