Common questions and answers about counseling

When should you seek counseling?

If you are questioning whether or not counseling could be something you will benefit from, this may be a good indication that it is time to find out. People seek counseling for different reasons and at different points during their lives. Family and friends can often be positive supports for us during difficult times, but it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a professional that can be a neutral party in your life. We often face situations that are hard to deal with on our own and seeking counseling can be one way of feeling supported as you decide what is best for you and what you are dealing with.

Why do people come to counseling?

People choose to come to counseling for several different reasons including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, other mental and emotional problems and disorders, family and relationship issues, substance abuse and/or other addictions, sexual abuse and intimate partner violence and other trauma, eating disorders, career change and job stress, social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness, adapting to life transitions, sexuality and gender identity concerns, loss and grief, etc.

What is professional counseling?

Counseling is a professional, working relationship between the counselor and client that is based on trust, feeling safe, heard and supported. Professional counselors help clients identify goals he/she feels would be helpful in their lives and works with them to generate potential solutions to problems. Regardless of the reason someone is coming to counseling, many clients have goals of improving communication and coping skills; strengthening self-esteem; and changing behaviors that will lead to improved mental health stability. Through counseling clients have the opportunity to examine the behaviors, thoughts and feelings that are causing difficulties in life. A professional counselor can assist in learning effective ways to deal with concerns by identifying and building upon strengths and successes, and encouraging personal growth and development.

What should be expected during the first appointment?

During the initial counseling session, a social history and intake form will be completed through a series of questions and answers. The purpose of this initial session is to gather background information, process areas of strengths and concerns and to establish goals for therapy. This session also launches the professional relationship between the client and the therapist. Confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality will be discussed. Any necessary release of information can be filled out and signed at this time.

How long does counseling take?

The length of counseling is very much determined on an individual basis. The time it takes for the resolution or successful management of the concerns that brings someone to counseling can vary widely. Ideally, counseling is terminated when the concern(s) that brought a client to counseling in the first place become easier to manage and the individual feels better equipped to appropriately manage concerns without the intervention of a professional.

Is everything said confidential?

A client is guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure will be made with the client's full written, informed consent by filling out a release of information. The only limitations to confidentiality occur when a counselor feels that there is clear and imminent danger to the client or to others, when there is suspicion of child or dependent abuse, or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be disclosed such as a court case. Whenever possible, the client will be informed before confidential information is revealed. Privacy policies can be read in full here

Does Horizons prescribe medication?

Horizons Mental Health & Wellness Services does not staff a psychiatrist or a mental health nurse practitioner that would be able to prescribe mental health medications. Throughout the course of counseling there may be discussions about the appropriateness of medication and the counselor may refer the client to a medical professional to assist with this. Some people find the relief they are looking for in counseling alone, while others find the combination of talk therapy and medication to be a significant help. A client will always have the choice in whether or not he/she would like to pursue medication to assist with mental health concerns.

What are my payment options?

Many insurance companies cover mental health services by a licensed professional. It is important to check with your specific insurance company to see if these services are covered. Some questions to ask your insurance company prior to your first appointment could include:

  • Does my current insurance have mental health benefits and cover counseling?
  • What is my current deductible?
  • Do I have a co-payment?
  • How many sessions per year will my insurance cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per counseling session?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

Cash, check and all major credit cards are accepted for payment. Payment or co-payment is due at the time of service. If one does not have insurance, has questions regarding the cost of services or of being able to afford services, please contact our Mental Health Intake Department at 319-398-3943, as a sliding fee payment option is available to those in need.

How does one make an appointment?

Please fill out the section on this website titled “Contact Us” or call the office at 319-398-3943 and request to be transferred to the Mental Health Intake Department. One of our Intake specialists will be in touch with you regarding your inquiry in a timely manner.