Life and Light Counseling


How do I Choose a therapist?

The key to successful therapy is finding the right therapist for you. However good a therapist may be, it is the relationship between the two of you that determines whether you trust them, and they come to understand you enough, to help you explore and find solutions for your problem.

Some therapists specialize in particular problems. Having found a therapist you can talk to them on the telephone, to see if they have appointments available at a time and place that suits you, if they feel they could help you with your problem. Don't be surprised if you get an answering machine when you call: these are used because they don't want to be interrupted when meeting a client, but they will return your call.

You can meet your therapist for a single session, to discuss what you are looking for from therapy, to help you decide whether they are the right therapist for you.  Only you can decide, do not be afraid to ask questions or request further information before making your mind up. 

How much therapy will I need?

This depends on you, your therapist, the type of therapy they practice, and how complex or deep-seated the problem is that you are trying to deal with.

At your first meeting you should discuss this with your therapist who will be able to make an estimate, but some people respond more quickly to therapy and others take longer, so don't expect a definite answer.

It is unusual for therapy to last less then six sessions.  Some types of therapy may last for two years or more. 

Therapy can be a difficult experience, and it may be some time before you start seeing results.  It is easy to miss sessions if you find something painful to discuss or think about.  This is when you most need to go, you can discuss your difficulty with your therapist so they can try to help you deal with it.

What is the difference between psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and psychotherapists?

A psychiatrist is a physician and has been uniquely trained in prescribing psychotropic medication. In our managed care world, most psychiatrists do not see people for psychotherapy.

A psychologist has a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree and has been trained in counseling and psychological testing. Some however have had other types of training such as research or working with businesses.

A social worker has an M.S.W. degree and is trained in working with social service programs and psychosocial counseling.

A psychotherapist / Professional Counselor is generally someone with a Master's Degree in some area of counseling or a religion degree. It is important to understand their training, degree, and license(s) and certification.

Before beginning psychotherapy with anyone, it can be helpful to check with their particular licensing board to see if there are any outstanding complaints about them or any type of disciplinary action that has occurred.

How long is a therapy session?

A typical therapy session is 50 minutes.  Occasionally, therapists and clients will agree upon an extended session length to address a particular individual situation or for couple or family work.

When should I seek counseling?

From childhood through late adulthood, there are certain times when we may need help addressing problems and issues that cause us emotional distress or make us feel overwhelmed. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional. Professional counselors offer the caring, expert assistance that we often need during these stressful times. A counselor can help you identify your problems and assist you in finding the best ways to cope with the situation by changing behaviors that contribute to the problem or by finding constructive ways to deal with a situation that is beyond your personal control. Professional counselors offer help in addressing many situations that cause emotional stress, including, but not limited to:

  • anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders
  • the death of a loved one
  • family and relationship issues
  • substance abuse and other addictions
  • sexual abuse and domestic violence
  • eating disorders
  • career change and job stress
  • social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness
  • adapting to life transitions

Is everything I say confidential?

Most state licensure laws, including Minnesota protects client confidentiality. As a client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure will be made with your full written, informed consent and will be limited to a specific period of time. The only limitations to confidentiality occur when a counselor feels that there is clear and imminent danger to you or to others, or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be disclosed such as a court case. Whenever possible, you will be informed before confidential information is revealed.

Does couples counseling work?

The answer is yes. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy ,research indicates that couples and family counseling is helpful for relationships. Greater than 75% of couples were better off than those in the same situation that did not receive counseling. The couples that went to counseling reported a “significant” improvement in relationship satisfaction.

Some of the factors that contribute to a better outcome are commitment to therapy, a general openness and willingness to change.

Do you accept insurance? 
I am currently paneled with United Health Care/Medica/Optum; Medical Assistance (MA-MN). I am working on becoming in network with BCBS, Hennepin Health, HealthPartners, Preferred One, Cigna, UCare, and Aetna 


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