Common Questions:  

What is Counseling? 

Talk or traditional therapy provides mental health support through face-to-face or in-person interactions with a licensed therapist. Weekly sessions typically take place in an office setting for 45 minutes to an hour. Research notes that psychotherapy, regardless of format, can reduce symptoms of depression and psychosis, making it just as effective as antidepressants.

What is Telehealth?

Online therapy, also called teletherapy or virtual therapy, provides mental health support from any location. Some forms of online therapy include texts, emails, phone calls, and video services. Therapists may offer virtual options directly through their personal practice. Online platforms also allow individuals to connect to therapists within their networks. Virtual therapy appears equally effective as in-person therapy for treating mental health needs,

In Person Appointments

Pros of In-Person Therapy

  • Nonverbal communication:

  •  In-person sessions allow therapists to read nonverbal cues that support verbal communication. Nonverbal information can help a therapist better understand your needs.

  • However, nonverbal information is not completely lost in video format. Seeing a client's environment with video can also offer additional nonverbal insights, but a phone session would not have this advantage.

  • Neutral location: Sessions that take place in a therapist's office can provide a space away from your everyday life. A location that feels neutral can increase your comfort when sharing private information.
  • Intensive support: Some mental health needs require direct, in-person therapeutic support. Art, music, and play therapy can provide effective support when used in person.

Cons of In-Person Therapy

  • Accessibility: Getting to and from therapy sessions can prove a significant challenge for some. Traffic, public transit issues, and commuting time adds up. Taking time away from work or other priorities can also limit access to in-person therapy.
  • Timing: Long waiting periods, due to lack of availability or differing schedules, might force a delay to begin sessions with a new therapist.



Versus Telehealth

Pros of Online Therapy

  • Convenience: With virtual options like texting and emailing, you can connect with a therapist from virtually anywhere at any time. Online services provide access to therapeutic support quickly and with little hassle.
  • Easy access: Online options provide easier access to therapeutic support for those with difficulties commuting to in-person therapy sessions. Connecting virtually can also lower social anxieties associated with sharing physical spaces with others.
  • Reduced stigma: No one needs to know about your therapy sessions. You can choose to remain anonymous through online therapy networks, and no one can see you heading off to a therapy session unless you want them to.

Cons of Online Therapy

  • Internet reliant: Video conferencing comes with the added pressure of you and your therapist relying on an internet connection. One or both of you may lose service, interfering with your ability to connect when desired or needed. This should be discussed with your therapist on how this situation will be handled if internet service is lost.
  • Limits to care: Some more serious mental health conditions may require an in-person session. Therapists may find limits to effective care options. Also, those who supplement their income by joining a virtual therapy network can sometimes become burned out, leading to lower quality of care.
  • Communication restrictions: Text and email communications can limit the depth of understanding between you and your therapist. Without body language and nonverbal cues, communication can feel limited. Also, patients should not assume a therapist is available 24/7 virtually.

What Do We Not See?

  • Substance Abuse and Alcohol Treatment
  • Substance Abuse and Alcohol Evaluations 
  • Court Ordered Evaluations
  • Custody Parental Safety Hearing
  • Psychological Medication (Prescription or Management)
  • Autism Assessment
  • Psychological Evaluations

A Note About ADHD Assessments:

  • We can assess for and diagnose ADHD in adults. 
  • We can assess and diagnose ADHD in kids, but we recommend completing a full psychological evaluation. We understand that the wait list can be extensive. So, we want to be able to help support you in getting scheduled, medication guidance, and any paperwork needed to help get the process started with school and start working on skill building. In our experience, the evaluation provides a more accurate and in-depth diagnosis for ADHD and any that may be underlying.
  • If you have any questions, please let us know! 

Where Do I Go For Psychological / ADHD / Autism Evaluations? 

The following places are not meant to be recommendations but community resources because we know it can be challenging
to find the necessary services. 
Westwind Consulting Center Inc: Fehr Alan J
Dickinson
701-225-1050
Dr. Justin Boseck
Fargo
1308 23rd St. South Fargo, ND
701-297-7540
Dakota Family Services
Fargo
701-501-6893
Chambers and Blohm
Bismarck
701-323-0924

Where Do I Go For Substance Use/ Alcohol?

The following places are not meant to be recommendations but community resources because we know it can be challenging
to find the necessary services.
Choice Recovery Counseling
Williston
701-770-9743
Montgomery Counseling Services
Williston
791-572-3800
A.D.A.P.T
Bismarck
701-225-2717

Where Can I Go For Court Ordered Evaluations?

The following places are not meant to be recommendations but community resources because we know it can be challenging to find the necessary services.
Missouri River Health
Bismarck
701-712-9962
Benson Psychological
Fargo
701-297-7540

How Can Therapy Help Me?

    A number of benefits are possible from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What Is Therapy Like?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn and/or discover in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives, and are ready take responsibility for their lives.

Why Do People Go To Therapy And How Do I Know If It Is Right For Me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

Knowing if therapy is right for you can take some time and some self-reflection. You can talk to your therapist if you have any concerns about your reaction to therapy. It is important to be open with your therapist and give honest feedback on your experience so that your therapist is aware and can help make things right or even refer you to different therapist who can give you the experience you are looking for.

How Do I Choose The Right Therapist?


It’s important to feel that there is a good fit between your personality and your therapist’s personality. There are many skilled therapists out there, which means there is not only one therapist who is “right” for you. Like all people, therapists have different personalities, styles, office settings, and approaches. Find one you are comfortable with, one you can trust, and one who helps
you grow. We generally recommend meeting with a therapist for 2-3 sessions before deciding to continue or discontinue
sessions with that therapist.

How Long Are Counseling Sessions?

Counseling sessions usually will last 50 minutes for individual, family, and marriage sessions. Depending on the therapist, younger children may have a session of 30 minutes. 

How Often Will I Meet With My Therapist?

While the success of psychotherapy depends on various factors, one of the most important is continuity of sessions. To be most useful at the beginning, sessions with your therapist usually take place at least on a weekly basis. With time, sessions may take place every couple of weeks, depending on your needs and your therapist’s approach.

Will My Therapist Ask Me A Lot Of Questions In Therapy?

This depends on the style and training of your therapist. Some therapists will conduct an “intake,” also known as a biopsychosocial assessment, in the first session. During the intake process, you will be asked questions about topics like family background, mental health history, physical health, education, career, and substance use history. Other therapists will wait for you to begin talking or they’ll begin the session with a simple question like, “So what brings you in today?” There isn’t a right or wrong approach.  You want to find a therapist whose style fits with your personality.

What If I Don’t Want To Talk About Certain Topics?

That’s not a problem! If your therapist asks you a question that you don’t want to answer, just tell them that you’re not ready to discuss it. Perhaps, you can circle back to that topic down the road when you’re ready.

What Should I Do If My Therapist Upsets Me?

 If your therapist upsets you, you should bring it to their attention. Even if you wait until a later session to bring it up, it’s better than ignoring it. If you feel that you’re being judged or criticized, let your therapist know. For example, you could say something like, “In our session last week, I felt like you were judging me when I told you that I smoke marijuana. Can we talk about that?”

  A well-trained therapist will be able to respond empathically to you and will be open to exploring your feelings about the interactions between the two of you. A well-trained therapist can also own their part in the interaction. An open and honest conversation about your interaction can often enhance your work together long-term.

What About Medication Vs. Psychotherapy?  

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause is not solely medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.

Does What We Talk About In Therapy Remain Confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and a psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:

 * Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.

* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.

What Is Supervision?

 Supervision is a formal arrangement for therapists to discuss their work regularly with someone who is experienced in both therapy and supervision. The task is to work together to ensure and develop the efficacy of the therapist/client relationship. 

What Is The Difference Between Counseling, Therapy, and Psychotherapy? 

“Counseling” is a brief treatment that targets a specific symptom or situation, while “psychotherapy” or "therapy" for short, is a longer-term treatment that attempts to gain more insight into someone's problems. However, many people use the terms interchangeably. One caveat is that “counseling” can be used in other contexts.

Who Can Come To Counseling?

Everybody is welcome; counseling is designed to be a safe place. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us through our phone number or to a therapist.