Therapy is fundamentally a conversation between the client as the expert in your own life and the therapist as an agent in facilitating change. The therapist provides a safe place for you to hear and learn about yourself so you can grow into your next steps.
Research has shown that one of the most significant factors affecting a client’s response to counseling is the relationship between the therapist and the client. No matter how much education or experience your therapist had, if you didn’t feel safe or understood, you were unlikely to reap the benefits of counseling.
Your lack of success with prior counseling may also have been related to the expectations you had versus the experience you got. It is extremely important to discuss your expectations for counseling with your therapist early on and be honest with him/her about whether or not you feel as though your expectations are being met as the process develops.
Another explanation may be that your level of readiness to change has increased or changed since your prior counseling experience. As previously stated, no matter how much education or experience your therapist had, if you are not ready to change a particular part of your life, the therapist can’t do it for you.
The short answer is no, not unless you tell them or you have signed a written consent which specifies what information is to be released, for what purposes, and during what time frame. In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.
There are many different types of counselors with a variety of credentials. What to look for? Education and licensure. LMHC means Licensed Mental Health Counselor. To earn those letters, I completed a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology. To earn the license, I had to pass a state and federal approved test.
Others who can provide counseling: MD's. These are usually psychiatrists who can also prescribe medication. Nurses: Properly trained and licensed, some nurses can provide counseling and prescribe medication. PhD's: This degree is for a psychologist, not a prescriber of medication but can provide counseling or evaluative testing. MSW: Master's level therapists. Can provide counseling if properly licensed but not medication.