TRIED THERAPY BEFORE

AND IT DIDN'T WORK?

Read why Clarity Counseling is different.

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we don't do journaling out loud

Some forms of therapy can be the equivalent to what we call "journaling out loud" where each session is comprised of whatever you feel like sharing about from your week or your past. While this type of process is important to the counseling process and does occur in some amount each week, this isn't the work of therapy that facilitates healing. In our view, you will feel temporary relief from doing this in the same way that you do when journaling or talking to a friend. In counseling jargon we call this "catharsis."

resilient relief

Many times, the relief that therapy offers just doesn't seem to last. While that is something that does happen (and there's no shame when it does!), our belief is that sometimes this unnecessarily happens when therapists "hold all the secrets" - meaning they don't educate or teach you what they're doing. This results in you not getting to develop the confidence and practice you need to effectively use those skills outside of the support of the therapist. Understandably, this means you end up back in the counseling office when life brings you something more difficult than you feel confident to handle. In truth, the goal of counseling is to finish in months (not years), and (ideally and in most cases) not need to come back.  

healing is hard work

Not just because we talk about hard things, but because we have to create new neural pathways (think new brain muscles) and doing this work is the equivalent of taking your brain to the gym. Effective and efficient therapy is hard-but-good and involves figuring out where you're wanting to go with your life or mental health. This means that eventually we transition the focus of the work to determining what we can do differently in the future. Don't worry if that sounds overwhelming! If your main struggle is motivating yourself to do anything at all or the idea of setting goals makes you feel really anxious, then often one of the first goals becomes actually addressing that very issue!

 tackle treatment-resistant Symptoms

Many times, we have been successful in helping people who have been to counseling multiple times before and not felt the relief they were looking for - either at all or that didn't last after treatment ended. We describe these folks as having "treatment-resistant" symptoms. Part of how we're able to be effective in these scenarios is by not just focusing on your present symptoms, but instead focusing on the root causes of the symptoms and addressing those. Further, we stay fairly true to research-based practices as they were designed, whereas a common practice in the counseling world is to draw single exercises from multiple different practices or theories in a way that has little research support.  

Clear Answers

What happens in a counseling session?


This varies, but universally starts with a session request form to get basic information about you and the nature of your reasons for contactin us. From there we will either place you or let you know an estimate of how long you woud have to wait to start.
At the first session we complete a more thorough questionnaire, we orient you to counseling and advise you of all the laws and rights that you have as a recipient of professional counseling. Lastly, we begin the conversation of what brought you to counseling in the first place and ask questions about things that may be relevant to the therapists ability to assist you.
During the first or second session goals are set, and our Clarity session structure is used to keep things organized and focused on your goals. We use various tools to measure whether what we are doing is working, and teach you skills that you need to reach your goals.
When the goals have been reached, either new goals are established or counseling is discontinued at that time - though it can absolutely resume again in the future!




What is a licensed therapist?


A licensed therapist has to have a masters or a doctorate degree. While the exact number varies by license type, all licensed therapists have completed thousands of hours of counseling while meeting weekly with a licensed therapist who helps them learn their craft and master proper legal and ethical practices. During this time, a therapist must work for a licensed therapist or a company and cannot work independently (operate their own business). Once they've completed the requisite number of hours, they submit documentation of their experience. Once approved, they have to pass both a laws and ethics test, and a clinical skills test. Once those have both been passed, therapists can apply for a license and begin working working independently (or continue working for a company or non-profit). Therapists licenses can always be looked up via: https://www.breeze.ca.gov/ Click license search, and you can view if they have ever had any complaints against them, or make a complaint to the licensing board about them.




What is an Associate/Intern therapist?


There are 2 categories of unlicensed therapists: INTERN: The therapist has not yet completed their education, but has completed the required core classes to begin being able to see clients. Interns are not registered with the state (yet), and their schools are responsible for supervising their practice (as well as the organization they are gaining experience with). This is called a field placement. They cannot work independently, and the ratio of hours doing counseling to hours meeting with a clinical supervisor is smaller. ASSOCIATE: The therapist has received their masters or doctorate, and are now registered with the state of California. They are not allowed to practice independently, and must work for a licensed therapist or company/non-profit. They are allowed a higher ratio of hours doing counseling to time with a clinical supervisor. They must complete a bi-annual law and ethics exam to remain current, and accumulate thousands of hours of expeirence before they are allowed to apply for the clinical exam and (therefore) licensure. Associate registrations can always be looked up via: https://www.breeze.ca.gov/
Click license search, and you can view if they have ever had any complaints against them, or make a complaint to the licensing board about them.




What are psychometrics and/or what is DASS-21?


Psychometrics means tools that measure states of mind and/or emotions. Some can even be used to formally diagnose mental health conditions, but those are typically administered by a psychologist (psychological testing). Clarity selects various tools depending on the goals and nature of your symptoms, but the purpose is to get a general sense of whether your symptoms are getting worse, staying the same, or improving. They are a starting point for conversation and just one way that progress can be evaluated. One tool that Clarity likes to use is DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale). It is the 21 question version (there is a 42 question version). This is a well researched tool to evaluate depression, anxiety, and stress levels reliably. Every appointment reminder you receive will have a link to this scale, but it can also be completed at the start of session (usually 3 min or less). We can then track progress over time to see how we're doing.




What happens in group counseling?


Group counseling starts similarly to individual counseling. You complete a session request form on our website so we can get some basic history and information. We then meet with you individually for 30-60 minutes to make sure you would benefit from group. Then you would be assigned to a day and time for group. In group, typically each sessions starts with a brief check-in about how each participant is doing, as well as a brief review of their goals and progress. Then group either continues to work on the goals of an individual, or there will be a structured activity to build skills within the group. Though group is often anxiety provoking to think about for most people, it is extremely powerful to go through difficult life experiences with people who are also going through similar experiences. We are (by nature) pack animals and we benefit from connecting with others.




How do I know if I need counseling?


This is truly a personal decision. I would recommend using our online depression, anxiety, and stress calculator (see link above "Clear Answers" section) to get a generalized sense of where your symptoms fall on the spectrum. However, the real litmus test is whether your symptoms are causing you distress or disrupting your ability to function in major life domains (relationships, family, work, etc). Still not sure? Contact us today. If we don't think we can help, we'll let you know.




Can you help with issues that aren't depression or anxiety?


Yes! We also have experience with substance use, relationship issues, and many other challenges. However, our strongest experience and training is in depression and anxiety-related issues. Contact us today. Remember, one of our promises is to never treat someone we don't believe we can help!





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