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What to know about counseling....

Taking steps to improve yourself, family, or kids is a big decision and it’s important it’s a good fit!

Here are some questions that every counselor or therapist should be able to answer. Don’t be shy! We want you to feel comfortable, ask us as many questions as you would like, this is a big decision:

How to find the best fit for you:

 Q: What type of license do you have? 

Not every counselor is trained the same. Here are some common definitions that you will hear.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has passed the national test and has completed graduate course work and clinical hours to work independently under some funding and regulatory policies. Or they were grandfathered in if they started practicing before 1991. An LPC is still under supervision and is working toward the full license of LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) is a fully licensed individual. An LCPC has completed two years post-graduate hours under supervision, passed a second national exam and is now qualified to work independently under ALL funding and regulatory policies. 


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is a fully licensed individual who specializes in family work and couples. Their training is specialized in this area.


Licensed Masters Social Worker (LMSW) has training in social work and has the broadest view. As a result, they have less training in counseling than LPCs and LCPC’s and fully licensed psychologists. Many LMSWs complete additional training after their Master’s degree as they work toward an LCSW


Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) has training in social work and has the broadest view. As a result, they have less training in counseling than LPCs and LCPC’s and fully licensed psychologists. LCSW’s have completed additional supervision post-graduate and are fully licensed.

Psychologist: has training in psychology as opposed to counseling or social work. They often also provide testing and diagnostics. Psychology is the oldest field. LLPs are Master’s level psychologists, in MI a fully licensed psychologist must have a doctorate.


Psychiatrist:  A psychiatrist is an MD. They obtain a full Medical degree in general practice prior to specializing in psychology. They often provide testing, diagnostic and medications.


Q: What type of training do you have and how much/what kind of training do you attend yearly?

Depending on the program (Psychology, Counseling or Social Work) a counselor’s focus in therapy can be very different. Ask follow-up questions so that you are informed.  At minimum your counselor or therapist should be attending to their training 20+ hours/year.

Q: What are the first 3 sessions like?

This will give you an idea of what to expect. Some counselors have a clear plan, while others will want to  hear your story, some make Treatment Plans to help measure goals, while others don’t. Their approach should be similar to what you are looking for.

Q: What theoretical approach do you take?

When you ask this question part of it is the actual theoretical approach. But really, you want a counselor that can translate complex psychological terms into everyday language. CAN THEY KEEP IT SIMPLE!?!?  If they say that they do cognitive-behavioral therapy, that probably doesn’t mean much to you, so hopefully a counselor will explain what that is and how it can help you in a way that is meaningful.


Q: How many sessions do most clients attend?

Counselors usually have an idea of how long clients attend therapy with them. Depending on what you are looking for, this can be an important question to ask.  

Q: Do you see people all over Idaho?

Our counseling clinic sees people mostly in the Boise and Treasure Valley area.  We do have a Telehealth service (sometimes called "skype counseling"), if you are out of the area, call us and ask us how it works?

Q: Are there topics that are 'off limits" to talk to my counselor about?

Absolutely not!  Counseling is a "judge-free" zone. As embarrassing as it may be to you, nothing you say is going to 'knock us out of our chair"...we've heard it.  From sex fantasy to fixation to stealing from your grandmother....we're here to help!

Q: Will you help me drive or go grocery shopping if I can't seem to get myself to go?

You bet!  Counseling takes on many forms.  When our clients are too panicked to drive, we may work with you in your CAR to help you get back behind the wheel and enjoy exploring our beautiful Boise again!

Q: Will you tell anyone?

Absolutely not.  Your mental health privacy is legally protected in Idaho.  In fact ANYTHING you tell your counselor... ANYTHING! (yes, you can tell us you killed someone) is private.  What counselors HAVE to tell is if you tell us you're GOING TO (as in future-tense) hurt someone, or yourself.  Or if child abuse/neglect has or is happening.  Even then, we will work to find out what help you need first and be with you side by side to be sure, through any reporting, you get the help you need for you and your family. 

The most important thing is that you are comfortable with your counselor.

If you or someone you live needs help, please contact us and we can see if you and one of our counselors might be a good fit! Click here We’d love to hear from you, or call 208-991-4696.

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