Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect during my first session?

Your first visit to the therapist will differ from future sessions. The purpose of this initial visit is for you and I to get to know each other and to develop an idea on the proper direction in which to proceed in the future. Subsequent sessions will be more therapeutic in nature.

Psychotherapy is a long-term process, so don't expect immediate resolutions to your problems. Therapy is about equipping you with the tools to solve problems with a life-long orientation, rather than a quick fix.

During the first session, I will ask: “What is it that brings you to therapy?” I will also address the following questions & areas:

  • What do you feel is wrong in your life?
  • What, if any, any symptoms you are experiencing?
  • What is your personal & family history?
  • Discuss your childhood.
  • Discuss your educational background.
  • Discuss your interpersonal relationships (romantic partners, friends, professional associates, family)
  • Your living situation and arrangements.
  • Your career, professional status, work history as well as your current job situation.

Additionally, you and I may discuss the length of your treatment, the methods to be employed and last, but not least, patient confidentiality.

How can counseling help me?

When you feel overwhelmed, helpless, or hopeless, a non-judgmental, compassionate, and honest individual can help guide you through your difficulties. There are many types of problems that may interfere with your ability to function at work or in school, and/or to maintain healthy relationships. These problems when left untreated or unresolved may generate other problems such as alcohol or substance abuse.

I will help you explore current and persistent issues that may be contributing to your problems, in a way that utilizes your strengths and facilitates your use of healthy skills and tools. You should feel safe and secure in therapeutic process. I will not criticize you, nor will I judge you for your thoughts, beliefs, or values.

Counseling can be utilized to explore, with an objective ear, thoughts and feelings relating to your career, school, relationships, or any other life circumstances. In addition, I can effectively facilitate emotional health associated with moderate or severe mental health issues, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Family conflict
  • Alcohol or Substance Abuse
  • Bariatric weight loss assessments
Is my session confidential?

I strictly adhere to principles and standards of their respective professions (American Counseling Association. The services you receive are confidential and your written permission is required for the release of any information about you. Possible exceptions, as specified by law, include situations of clear and imminent danger to yourself or another person, child or elder abuse or neglect, and court order.

How long will I need therapy?

There is no set time for completion of therapy; it varies from one client to the next. Each client's treatment plan is individualized to meet the needs of the client. In some cases therapy can be brief such as 3-6 months and in other instances can last greater periods of time (ie. several years). In all instances length of treatment greatly depends on the client.

How do I know I need professional help?

You may have attempted to cope with the problem yourself and may have even discussed it with family, friends or peers. Sometimes just talking it out with a sympathetic listener helps. Beyond that, you might try a mutual support program like Alcoholics' Anonymous or another such group. But you know you need professional help when nothing has worked, when you feel depressed, anxious or agitated, when you are unable to carry out your obligations. But the most important point is to select someone with professional credentials and experience.

What treatment methods do you use?

Integrative although not a formal school of thought, is the use of a combination of approaches or theoretical orientations. It is used by most therapists. There are many different blends. It is a recognition that individuals may benefit from a variety of techniques. The eclectic approach can be flexible and adaptive and avoid forcing treatment into one size fits all limitations. It is necessary that the therapist be well grounded in several of the more orthodox approaches to treatment rather than using bits and pieces through a lack of familiarity.

Do you prescribe medication?

No; in accordance to both state and federal law in the United States, to be able to prescribe a meditation I would need to hold a medical degree.

Do you take insurance?

At this time, I do not take insurance. I do however accept multiple payment options such as cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, & Debit. In addition, I can give you a Superbill which may submit directly to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Stafford Community Counseling

My name is Laurie Barton, and I offer counseling services in Stafford, Virginia. If I am unable to answer, leave a message and I will return your call as quickly as possible. There is no charge for a phone consultation. I look forward to talking with you!

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