Marriage & Family Health Services

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychotherapy


What is counseling and psychotherapy?

While there are distinctions between counseling and psychotherapy, both are collaborative efforts between you and a person who has special education and training, as well as licensure or certification in their chosen field. In short, the process of counseling or psychotherapy is talking through the problems that impact you. There are a wide range of approaches that have been shown to be effective.

You are encouraged to talk to your therapist about his or her approach to helping you with your problems. Broadly, all approaches used by our therapists and counselors are characterized by an emphasis on maximizing your strengths; identifying and addressing specific goals to address the problems that are bothering you; helping you develop a more positive self-perception and examine the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are causing difficulties in your life.

When should you seek psychotherapy or counseling?

In most people’s lives, there comes a time when help is needed from others. Sometimes, that help can come from a loved one or a trusted friend. But there are times and situations in which special assistance is needed. There are a few reliable indicators of when to seek professional help with your problems. These include:

  • The problems make work or school intolerable or overwhelming.
  • You find yourself becoming isolated from those around you.
  • Concentrating becomes difficult or impossible.  
  • Hobbies and pastimes no longer are enjoyable.
  • You find yourself avoiding responsibilities, either through alcohol or drugs, television, internet, or other distractions.
  • You regularly can’t sleep well or are frequently tired.
  • Your appetite is disrupted on most days of the week.
  • You spend more days than not sad or anxious or irritable.
  • Your relationships are no longer satisfying.
  • You have frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
  • You find yourself engaging in behaviors that are harmful to yourself or others.

It is important to remember that, while most problems can be effectively addressed in a relatively short course of work with a therapist, it is unhelpful to wait too long. While the decision to seek professional help is a big one, it is a mistake to wait until you are completely overwhelmed or at the end of your rope.  

What kind of problems can a psychotherapist or counselor help me with?

  • Anxiety, stress, worry
  • Depression, hopelessness, recurrent sadness
  • Family and relationship issues
  • Adapting to life transitions
  • The death or other loss of a loved one
  • Career change and job stress
  • Social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness
  • Problems with parenting, raising difficult children
  • Coping with a neuro-developmental difficulty such as an autism-related diagnosis or a cognitive disability.
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse/addiction
  • Sexual abuse, domestic violence, or other trauma
  • Eating disorders

Does going to counseling or psychotherapy mean that I am crazy or sick?

No. Many of the most troublesome problems in life are actually quite commonplace (which, unfortunately, does not necessarily make them any easier to deal with). In much the same way that a person might seek a trainer to get help with losing extra weight or getting in shape, working with a counselor or therapist is simply a highly effective and more efficient way of addressing some obstacle in your life.

How long does counseling or psychotherapy take?

Generally, the process is relatively short, especially when compared to the circumstances that led to the problems in the first place, and certainly when compared with the likely course the problems would take if nothing is done. For most problems, the course of psychotherapy or counseling can last anywhere from four to twenty sessions, with eight to twelve sessions being most common.

You normally meet for an hour each week or every other week with your therapist, and you can expect him or her to be understanding about any reluctance you might have regarding an extended course of therapy or counseling. Some insurance companies limit the number of sessions for which they will pay. You can consult with your insurance company and with our office staff for help with questions about payment.

Will my health insurance cover counseling?

Many insurance and coverage plans cover psychotherapy or counseling by licensed and/or certified providers such as those at Marriage and Family Health Services.

Please talk to our friendly office staff if you have questions about your insurance company or would like to make other arrangements.

How much does counseling cost?

In most cases, your insurance company will cover most if not all of the cost of treatment with MFHS. Our office staff possess years of experience and expertise in working with insurance companies and they will be happy to answer any questions about cost and insurance coverage. Unfortunately every insurance policy is different, so to find out exactly what your co-pays and deductible will be please contact your insurance company directly.

Is everything I say private?

All of the staff at Marriage and Family Health Services take very seriously the ethics and standards of our professions, which require us to protect the confidentiality of their clients. The licensure and certification that our professionals hold from the State of Wisconsin also serves to legally protect your confidentiality. As our client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Any disclosure will be made with your full written, informed consent and will be limited to a specific period of time. The only limitations to confidentiality occur when a counselor feels that there is clear and imminent danger to you or to others, or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be disclosed such as a court case. Your therapist or counselor will discuss confidentiality and its limitations in more detail in your first meeting with him or her.


Marriage & Family Health Services strives to provide excellence in therapeutic solutions and assessments for children, teens, and adults.