Karen Harrison

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Counseling FAQs

Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my own problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there is nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to overcome whatever challenges you face.


Why might I need therapy when I have friends who listen and give me input?

Your friends are there for you and that is great. Because your friends love and support you, they may tell you what you want to hear or have a biased perspective. A counselor has special training to help you beyond what your friends are able to provide. Sometimes my clients tell me they don’t want to tell their friends the same old story again and they want help with the issue rather than just listening or advice that may not have been useful.


How can therapy help me?

My number one goal in counseling is to help you resolve the issues which brought you to counseling as quickly as possible. I can provide you support, problem-solving skills, solutions, a fresh perspective, and enhanced coping strategies. Utilizing my 20 plus years experience with similar problems, I can share how others have solved similar problems and what the likely outcome will be of various approaches, leaving the decision as to what action you will take to you. 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:

  • Being listened to in a safe, supportive environment
  • For couples, having an objective, non-judgmental third party
  • Being validated for your feelings and perceptions
  • New tools to solve problems
  • Better self-care methods
  • Knowledge of yours and your partner’s love languages
  • Learning ways to enhance your sex life
  • Improved communication, listening skills, and conflict resolution
  • Enhanced harmony and inner peace
  • Better self-esteem
  • Meeting your goals for counseling
  • Decreased or resolved depression and anxiety
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Resolved childhood issues
  • Better sleep
  • Often finding out that what you are experiencing is normal


What can I expect in a therapy session?

I intend to be respectful and non-judgmental as I work with you and listen to you. You share what you feel is most relevant to what caused you to seek counseling. If you come as a couple, you get equal time to share your perspective on the situation. Towards the end of the session you tell me what you want to get out of counseling and I write it down as our goals for our work together. The first session I am mostly listening and asking questions.

From the second session on, we start working towards your goals. I usually give you work to complete between sessions. For that reason, I most often see you every other week to give you time to complete the work. If you are in distress or want to work more quickly, weekly sessions may be available.

At the beginning of session I check in to see how things are going. If you have an issue you want to address, we do that. As time remains, we go back to working on your goals.

My therapy office is a relaxing environment with soft lighting, soft music, and loving energy filling the room.


Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a therapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of 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.


What about medication vs. psychotherapy?

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of the distress and the behavior patterns that curb a person’s 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.


Should I choose counseling or Reiki?

People often ask me whether to choose to work with me through my counseling or Reiki practice. If you have emotional or mental issues and haven’t utilized counseling before or only in a limited way, it might be best for you to try counseling. If you have primarily physical issues or if you have had counseling which did not resolve your issues, it might be best to try Reiki. Once you are a counseling or Reiki client, you cannot switch with me for two years after the last session, due to the ethical and liability issues associated with my counseling profession.


Can counseling and Reiki be combined?

I can combine counseling and Reiki in a few ways. Because of the ethics and liability issues of my counseling profession, I do not place my counseling clients on the Reiki table. I can work very effectively with my hands over the body or in a limited number of hands on positions while the client is sitting in a chair. During a counseling session, I might use Reiki healing with a guided visualization to heal past issues. I can also use a special Reiki procedure to actually lift an issue out of the client’s body and then fill that area of the body with healing energy. I have used this procedure effectively with abuse issues, healing for past romantic relationships, healing for childhood issues, healing a recent rape, healing an eating disorder, and more. During a Reiki session, I sometimes utilize inner child work and spiritual healing (working with the Holy Spirit) to help with trauma release work. These traumas can be anything in life for which you do not feel resolved.


Can I just have counseling without Reiki?

Of course! I give you the option of what you want to do. This is your healing journey and you are in charge! I have many ways to help people and have been trained in over 8 different counseling modalities. When agreed with the client, I utilize some Reiki procedures in my counseling practice because I have found they often work more quickly and easily than just counseling alone.


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