Yes! Choosing a counselor with whom to work is an important step, and it’s best to ensure we both feel it is a good fit. For this reason, I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.
Your relationship with a counselor is one-sided and confidential. I am here to be nonjudgmental, to listen, and attend to you. You are not responsible for my emotional needs, as with family and friends. Further, I am legally and ethically bound by confidentiality, meaning that you can trust what you tell me will not be shared with anyone else, including your employer, your family, or your friends. And last, but not least, I have thousands of hours of school, training, and work experience under my belt devoted to helping people address complex mental health concerns.
The truth is that mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and trauma disorders, are very common. 1 in 4 law enforcement officers have considered suicide, and while many officers and firefighters worry about being killed in the line of duty, both populations are far more likely to die by suicide. Most people wouldn’t think twice about seeking physical therapy for an overuse injury, and it's helpful to think of counseling as support for an emotional injury. Making the decision to see a skilled counselor is an act of strength: it demonstrates recognizing that you’re not functioning at 100%, and that things can get better.
There are many mental health issues that can be addressed by general counselors who don’t necessarily specialize, just as a primary care physician can treat many basic medical concerns. However, if you want to address concerns related to trauma, this truly requires specialization, including extensive clinical experience and training using evidence-based practices. A counselor who does not have this training may not be equipped to adequately treat you, and even worse, may actually cause harm. Posttraumatic stress (PTSD) is one of the most treatable mental health conditions, and it can often be treated within a few months.
No. It is my legal and ethical duty to protect your confidentiality. Unless you have been ordered to see a mental health professional by a court or your employer, then your employer does not have a right to know you are going to counseling. This is true even if you are using your employer-provided health insurance to attend counseling.
No. I am bound by medical privacy laws (HIPAA), and legally prohibited from disclosing any of your PHI (protected health information), including any diagnoses made, to your employer, or anyone, without your written consent. Voluntarily seeking mental health counseling never, by itself, means you are unfit for duty.
Yes! The counseling models I use have been tested and proven effective when done through telehealth. It's also a relief to have more freedom, privacy, and flexibility when scheduling appointments through telehealth, compared to in-person meetings.
This is an option. If you'd like to talk further about this, please let me know.