Common Questions About Psychotherapy and Counseling
Do therapists ever provide online Counseling?
- We do offer some distance counseling options. We don’t actually use Skype for these services, but instead use more secure programs that will further protect your privacy. Contact us today to learn more about our distance counseling options and to see if they are right for you. Also read this article on distance therapy to determine if this is a possible fit to meet your needs.
Will you tell my partner about information or secrets that I’ve withheld?
- We will not go out of our way to sabotage any relationship. Our goal is to help you and your relationships heal. Any confession or disclosure of secrets is handled in an extremely structured way.
My friends and family keep telling me that I need counseling, but I really don’t know why. How will you help me with this?
- Many times people come in because others say that they need to. Psychotherapy with us can be a place where you explore things that are going on in your life, what they mean to you, and how they impact you and others. This is a more exploratory approach to therapy, but many report learning a significant amount about themselves, and feeling better about themselves as a result.
Will you make me talk about things I don’t want to talk about?
- We may push you at times, but we’ll always respect it if you want to back off from a topic.
I’m terrified of therapy because I don’t want to feel controlled or pushed into changing things I am uncomfortable with. Am I a good candidate for therapy?
- We understand that talking with a therapist is one of the bravest things you can do. Some of our therapists are more direct, while others will take a more passive approach. Be sure to ask the therapist who you’re most interested in about their approach, and if it sounds too direct or passive, ask for a referral to someone who will better match your needs.
What training and experience does an Licensed Professional Counselor–Associate possess?
- LPC-Associate’s have completed their master’s level degree of counseling or higher. They have engaged in at least a 300 hour practicum, but many have had more experience in a clinical setting than this. They are then able to apply for a temporary license, where they work under the supervision of a state approved supervisor.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Can therapy help if I don’t want to give up drinking?
- People have to make personal decisions regarding their own use of alcohol. Our training in substance abuse counseling comes from an area where we know that we can’t make people change in a way that they don’t want to. We might recommend it, but we can help you put plans in place to make the best possible outcome based on the decisions that you’re making.
Are you a 12-step based program?
- We offer a client-focused program. What this means is that we can help you with a part of the steps, if you’re struggling with them. However, 12-step support and psychotherapy are not the same thing. We focus on helping you understand your use and the reasons behind decisions that you’re making, with the goal that greater understanding can further help you prevent problems in the future. Many of our clients do attend 12-step groups, and we are supportive of this, yet we also are supportive of our clients who prefer other types of support as well.
What can I expect from a substance abuse session?
- You can expect that your therapist will ask you about your history of alcohol or drug use, and help you determine what your goals are. You may be asked to complete a substance abuse evaluation, but every client has a plan that is specifically developed around him/her. Every one is different and has different needs.
I want to seek counseling for my relationship, but my partner is not willing to come with me. What can I do to help my partnership?
- You can come in to learn how to handle difficult conflict and communication from your end. You can learn about different roles that you can get caught up in when dealing with relationship conflict, and ways to handle these situations.
My partner wants to go to therapy, but I believe our problems are irreparable. What can we hope to get out of seeing a therapist?
- Although it’s not our job to tell a couple to breakup or stay together, we can help you determine if there’s any hope left at all. Some people feel that things are unfixable in their relationship because they are so frustrated about how everything has been. However, with someone to help you better understand patterns, mistakes, and better communication, new hope can prosper.
What can I expect in my first couples session?
- Your therapist will meet with you and your partner and talk with you, while also watching and assessing your conversations and behavior towards each other. You’re likely also to walk away with a few communication tips or other simple homework to start setting a new foundation right away.
In couples therapy, will you tell us that we need split up or get a divorce?
- Again, it’s not a therapists job to tell a couple what to do with their lives. Our job is to help you find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to get a divorce, we’ll help you with the stress and grief of this. If you’re wanting to make your relationship work, we’ll help you with this, by using tools in our toolbox, so that you can give it every fighting chance that you can.
How do I know you won’t take sides in our couples sessions?
- In our couples therapist training, we have learned how to keep balance in the therapy room. We know that it’s equally important for both sides to be seen and heard, and we work to make it so this happens.
We can’t even seem to have any kind of conversation at home, how can you make it so we can talk in therapy?
- Learning to manage emotions is extremely important. For couples who have high levels of conflict, they might have to take time doing some individual work, before going into a couples setting. Your therapist will recommend the best approach. We use a lot of Gottman therapy to help couples. Look here to learn more about how Gottman therapy can help with conflict.
What if we want to talk about sexual aspects of our relationship that are considered taboo?
- We encourage our clients to talk about all aspects of their relationship. We are a sex positive practice that is not here to judge your sexual relationship. For more on our sex therapy services, please visit our Sex Therapy page.
Everyone I’ve talked to about my problem says sex addiction is not real and that I just need to control my behavior. I’ve tried to manage my sexual behavior and been unsuccessful. What can I get from sex addiction therapy?
- Sadly, this happens quite regularly. Therapists who don’t have a lot of experience with sexually compulsive behavior often think that it’s something that you can just “get out of your system” or take control of. The truth is that behind almost all sexually compulsive behavior is a list of problems with intimacy, emotional pain, loneliness and poor responses to shame and emotions. This requires specialized training and experience to adequately work with this. All of our therapists have some background with supervision or experience, so they understand this.
- This article on sex addiction discusses what sex addiction is.
What is the difference between sex addiction and just cheating?
- Someone might have sexual encounters, or even an affair, yet he might not be an addict. The difference is that sex addiction is about a loss of control. Cheating and affairs can be part of sexually compulsive behavior. However, if someone is cheating or just has had an affair, and is not an addict, the primary issue is more about something emotional and poor decision making, than a genuine loss of control.
Does sex addiction mean that I won’t be able to have a healthy sexual relationship again?
- Through the therapy process, you’ll identify what is healthy sexuality for you, and how you can work to reach this in your relationship and life. With our experience in sex therapy and trauma therapy, we help our clients further recognize what has caused the problems with sexually compulsive behavior, and give them tools to intervene to encourage sex that is more intimate and connected.
Why do you offer trauma therapy, while also having a specialty in addictions and sexuality?
- This is a common question that we get. The founder of Vantage Point, Michael Salas, began his career working with substance abuse issues. Over time, this translated into a progressive journey. In working with a substance abuse population, Michael realized how many people would be coming into therapy for issues with sexual compulsivity. This led him to gain training and experience in that particular arena. He quickly came to realize that behind most addictions, there is a background of some type of trauma. This also led him into further researching and studying trauma. He became trained in EMDR, Post Induction Therapy and Somatic Experiencing to help with various types of trauma. This included attachment trauma, but also trauma associated with medical problems, physical attacks, and major life events as well. When Vantage Point expanded into a group, like minded therapists began to join our team. These other therapists have similar experience with addictions, but also hold to theories that trauma is an important part of therapy for these issues.
What is sex therapy and how can it help?
- Sex therapy is quite broad. Sex therapists have training in offering affirming therapy to LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, as well as people who are identify as non-monogamous and who are interested in kink and BDSM.
Do you write letters for people who are looking to transition?
- We do have therapists on our team who write letters for people who are looking for gender affirming medical treatments such as hormone therapy and surgeries. Availability can vary, but we have a focus on being an affirming place to the community.