Beth Reeder Johnson, MSW, LCSW answers the Frequently Asked Questions about counseling.

What is counseling?

Counseling is a therapeutic collaboration between the therapist and the client.  The client can be a child, adolescent, or adult individual, couple, family or group.  The specialties of Elizabeth Reeder Johnson, MSW, LCSW, include the treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, issues with major life changes, grief, relationship issues, behavioral problems associated with ADHD and Adjustment Disorders, parent training, marital therapy, and family relational problems.  This clinician uses cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral skills training, solution-focused therapy, family therapy, and Imago Relational Therapy.  Each client is given a complete 90 minute assessment where mutual treatment goals are agreed upon and outlined in a treatment plan.   These goals outline ways the counseling will improve communication, problem solving and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health. Through counseling you examine the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are causing difficulties in your life. You learn effective ways to cope with your problems by building upon personal strengths and acquiring new skills. Counseling encourages personal growth and development in ways that foster your interest and increase your overall life functioning. 

When should a person seek counseling?

There isn’t a simple answer, but a definite warning sign is when your mental health problems are impairing your day to day functioning.   If functioning at school, at work, or at home has decreased and you are having trouble coping with feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, grief, and moodiness; trouble facing difficult life situations; or having trouble in your marriage or other relationships. Another warning sign is that you have begun to cope with these life stressors by engaging in at-risk behaviors or you have recently had legal issues surrounding problem behaviors.

Is counseling confidential?

Yes, it is confidential.  The therapist must keep everything the client says private.  The only reason confidentially would be broken is if the client is posing a threat to himself/herself or others, specifically the client is exhibiting suicidal or homicidal behavior.  Also, client records can be subpoenaed with a court order from a judge.