About Counseling

Lakeview Counseling FAQs

A view from a therapist's office at Lakeview CounselingIn order to answer some of the questions we hear most often at Lakeview Counseling, we’ve assembled this page. If you take a few minutes to read the questions and answers here, you’ll get a better understanding of what to expect when you visit our office for counseling.

What is counseling?

When we say “counseling,” it’s interchangeable with “therapy.”

  • Counseling is a relationship in which a professionally trained therapist helps you to better understand yourself and solve problems. Seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness. Many people find that professional assistance is a mature and positive step toward success.
  • Counseling in our office takes place in a private, secure, uninterrupted setting.
  • Counseling is a collaborative process in which the therapist acts as a facilitator so that awareness and change can take place. One goal is for you to learn new skills to help you resolve your current problems and become more capable of solving new problems on your own in the future.
  • Counseling involves talking about yourself, including your family and personal history, as well as your thoughts and feelings.
  • Counseling is also referred to as “therapy” or “outpatient mental health services.”

What should I expect in my first session?

When you have your first session, you’ll meet with your therapist in a comfortable and supportive environment. Your therapist will want to focus on you, so they may ask you several questions about yourself, your history, and your current problems.

Worrying about your first session is not unusual, and your therapist will work with you to alleviate that anxiety and create an environment in which you feel comfortable. We understand that sharing personal concerns with a “stranger” might be intimidating.

Therapy appointment “hours” are typically 50 minutes long and scheduled on a weekly basis. If your therapist determines that additional services would be helpful for you, we’ll discuss that with you and make the necessary referral(s).

What do I have to do?

Your counseling will be most productive and most helpful if you cooperate with a few simple steps.

  • Attend your scheduled sessions and contact your therapist if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment.
  • Talk openly and honestly about yourself.
  • Complete any tasks or homework that your therapist assigns.
  • Let your therapist know if you have questions about the counseling or you feel that you aren’t making progress.
  • Contact your therapist or our office if you are having difficulty paying your bill.

What is a Treatment Plan?

During your counseling, your therapist will develop a written Treatment Plan based on the principles, methods, and theories of counseling. Your Treatment Plan aims to prevent, treat, and resolve your problems and/or mental health disorders.

Your Treatment Plan will include a descriptive statement of each problem and specify the goals, objectives, and any interventions. The Treatment Plan documents the course of your treatment, provides a structure for measuring progress, and allows for accountability. Your collaboration in developing the plan is important, as is your cooperation in following it.

How do I pay for my therapy?

Insurance is a common way to cover the fees for counseling, or you may pay out-of-pocket. Your health insurance may include coverage, so you might want to discuss your coverage with your insurance company, the Human Resources office at your workplace, or with your therapist.

In some cases, insurance covers a large portion of the fee other than the copayment. Managed care insurance policies require authorization for services, so you’ll need to sign an Authorization for Treatment and Billing Services form to allow us to bill your insurance company.

If you are uninsured, insured by a plan that does not cover counseling, or choose not to use your insurance, you’ll be responsible for payment in full. To pay for your treatment with a credit card, please see our Online Payment page. Your therapist will be able to discuss your payment arrangements and collection practices in detail.

What are the different types of therapists?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors and typically use the abbreviation “MD” following their names. They have completed medical school and residencies in psychiatry. They can write prescriptions and administer medication(s) if necessary.

Psychologists have doctorates in psychology (PhD degrees) and are licensed to practice in a particular state. They have completed graduate school doctoral programs, and they can provide a variety of testing and therapies.

Social workers have completed master’s degrees in social work. Depending on the degree earned, social workers may use “MSW,” “CSW,” or “ACSW” following their names. They are licensed to practice in a particular state and they have unique training in providing services for individuals and families.

At Lakeview Counseling, we hold our staff to high standards. All of our therapists have completed the following education and training:

  • Completion of a Master of Social Work degree or a PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Completion of a minimum of 5 years postgraduate supervised clinical experience
  • Licensure as a Certified Social Worker or Clinical Psychologist with the State of Michigan
  • Membership in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) or American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Acceptance into the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW)
  • Participation in continuing education activities

To file a complaint about a therapist, you may contact the State of Michigan, the Department of Community Health, or the national association in which the therapist holds a membership.