Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a counselor to meet my needs and concerns?

There are many ways to find a counselor. You can ask your health care provider (doctor or nurse) or your insurance company for a referral. You can also ask someone you trust, such as a religious leader, relative, or friend or ask the mental health agencies in your area. You are probably visiting Grace River’s website because you are trying to find a counselor. Grace River’s counselors vary in training, specialty, experience, and focus of practice. Click here to read about our counselors and find the one that seems to be the best fit your needs. If you have any questions or need assistance choosing a counselor at Grace River, please call 405.501.5073.

What types of providers are in the mental health field?

When you are referred for counseling, you may be referred to a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or some other type of mental health provider. All of these professionals are trained in understanding feelings and behaviors and know ways to help people through difficult times. They may also have additional training and/or experience in a specialty area, such as treatment of anxiety, depression, attention deficits, marital problems, etc.

Psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D./D.O.) who has graduated from medical school, with extra training in psychiatry. A psychiatrist can provide counseling, but likely will focus on evaluation, diagnosis and management of psychiatric medications. Grace River does not have a psychiatrist on staff, but can provide referrals.

Psychologist has a doctoral degree, (Ph.D./Psy.D./Ed.D) in psychology. A psychologist provides counseling and can also administer special testing to diagnose and treat various personality, emotional and learning disorders. Grace River does not have a psychiatrist on staff, but can provide referrals.

Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) are examples of therapists who have completed graduate work in a mental health field. They are able to counsel those with general mental health and relational concerns or those requiring more specialized care. Licensed providers at Grace River are Andrea Hart, LCSW and Megan Cross, LMFT-C. Rick Short is a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist.

A Biblical Counselor is a person that has either received an undergraduate degree from a Bible college, a Master’s degree from a seminary, an advanced certification in a Bible counseling program, or is an ordained and licensed minister of the Gospel. Biblical counselors are not licensed with a state board, but are usually under the authority of the church that ordained them or of the organization from which they received certification. Grace River’s biblical counselors have master’s degrees in education, human relations, psychology, and Bible and theology. They also have advanced training in psychology and counseling practice.

A Life Coach is a person that has received advanced certifications in Life Coaching from an accredited organization. Life coaching is different from counseling in that its primary purpose is to meet with clients to discuss needs and goals and develop strategies and plans. Life coaches help you find ways to move ahead in life, business, or career. Life coaches can help you understand ways you are stuck and how to press through for success in life and relationships.

What will happen when I talk to a counselor?

When you are in session with a counselor, you are safe to talk about anything that is on your mind. A counselor will listen to you and not judge you. You may choose to talk about more serious things some of the time and you can talk about less serious things at other times, depending on your mood and level of comfort. The conversations in counseling are completely confidential and you can feel safe sharing your thoughts and feelings.

What kinds of questions will the therapist ask me?

The first visit generally includes orientation and general intake questions and assessment. The counselor will welcome you, explain the therapy process and expectations, review policies and answer any questions you might have to help you feel comfortable. You will be asked questions about your current life and recent stressors and how you’ve been feeling during the past year. Your therapist may also ask you some questions about your health, your relationships with family and friends, your work and home environment and other such questions to get better acquainted. This will help the counselor understand why you are attending counseling and how to best help you.

After the initial session, your counselor will begin your personal therapy treatment. The counselor will discuss your goals, desires for the type of help you hope to receive, and a plan to achieve this. You may also discuss the projected timeline for your progress and some strategies that will be used in achieving your goals. It is important that you actively participate in the process of discussing your goals and preferences for treatment. The process of therapy can be just a couple of sessions or you may be with your counselor for weeks or months. Length of treatment depends on your needs and the progress of your healing.

The ending phase of therapy is called termination. This is when your counseling goals are adequately met and includes an evaluation of your progress and discussing maintenance and prevention strategies. If you are not making satisfactory progress, your therapist will discuss other treatment options for you to consider. Sometimes this involves referral to another provider, such as another counselor, Psychiatrist or Psychologist.

Some people continue to see their counselor occasionally for maintenance sessions. This is when you choose to seek additional support and guidance from your counselor, even after your regular treatment has ended. A counselor can play an important role throughout your life situations. Many people find a trusted mental health provider and rely on them many times throughout their lives.

What should I expect from counseling?

When you decide to start talking with a counselor, you should expect to meet with one person who will get to know you pretty well. You will build a relationship with your counselor during your appointments. Most counselors understand it takes time to get used to someone before you feel comfortable talking about the more serious things in your life. Once you feel comfortable in the counselor’s room, you may find yourself sharing and confiding in your counselor in ways you do not usually do. This openness is an important part of the treatment process.

Building a relationship and trust takes time. If you still don’t feel comfortable talking with your counselor after a few visits, you may consider choosing a different provider. You deserve to have a counselor with whom you feel safe and comfortable.

How long will counseling last?

The type of help you are offered will depend on (1) the type of personal concerns you have (duration and severity), (2) what you tell your therapist (openness and cooperation), and (3) the kind of relationship you have with him/her (trust). Some people are helped after only a few sessions (“short-term therapy”) that may last for only a few weeks, while others may need/prefer longer treatment (“long-term therapy”) that may last from several months to years. When appropriate, family members may attend some of the counseling sessions to provide extra support and to help improve the family relationships.

Counseling lasts different periods of time for different people. Your counselor will work with you to decide how counseling sessions will best fit into your schedule, lifestyle, and needs. When you start therapy, you generally can expect to meet with for a 50-55 minute session once a week. You may meet less or more often depending on your personal situation and what you and your counselor decide is best for you.

Why should I go to counseling?

If you are thinking about whether counseling could be helpful to you, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  •   Do you ever feel really sad, frustrated or lonely?

  •   Do you feel especially angry, annoyed or out-of-control?

  •   Do you feel anxious, worried, or guilty?

  •   Have you experienced some major problems at home, work, school, or in your neighborhood?

  •   Is it hard for you to talk about your feelings with family or friends?

  •   Is your life being negatively affected by the way you are feeling?

  •   Is your personal life, work and/or relationships with family and friends more difficult than you think it should be?

  •  Have you experienced a loss or trauma with which you are having trouble coping?

  •  Are you having thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness or just want to give up on life?

  •  Has a physician, family member, friend or other trusted individual suggested that you might benefit from counseling?

  •  Have you lost joy in life or are you having trouble with motivation at work, home or in other personal areas?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then it may be a good idea for you to talk with a counselor. However, if you are having any thoughts of self-harm, don’t wait for an appointment. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

People go to counseling for many reasons. Counseling can help you better understand your feelings and problems, and help you learn how to more effectively manage them in your everyday life. Counseling takes place in a completely confidential setting. Confidential means that the counselor cannot tell anyone, not even your close family members, about what is discussed, except as allowed by state and/or federal law. These exceptions generally include if you are a danger to yourself or others, instances of abuse or neglect of a minor or elder as defined by state law.

How is Grace River Christian Counseling Center different from other counseling clinics?

Our counselors are all Christians, love Jesus, and have committed to the ministry of counseling as a way to serve God and others. They share a Christian perspective on mental health care. Grace River integrates biblically-based, Christian beliefs with sound psychological principles to treat the whole person –emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You will pray with your counselor and they will often share Bible verses, doctrine, and precepts to aid in your understanding of life and your situation. The goal of Grace River is to provide care that is Distinctively Christian and Clinically Excellent.

We believe the Scripture is our guide e for finding a right relationship with God and our fellow man.  

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 4:11-13 –  … so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

What else should I know about Grace River Christian Counseling Center?

Grace River Christian Counseling Center operates with these core values:

  • We are committed to honoring Jesus Christ and glorifying God, remaining flexible and responsive to the Holy Spirit in all that He has called us to be and do.

  • We are committed to Biblical truths as well as to clinical excellence in the delivery of all our resources, services, and training.

  • We are committed to effectively and competently serving the Norman regional community with excellence and timeliness.

  • We are committed to value our regional pastors as partners in our mission to effectively provide Christ-centered counseling and care for hurting people.

  • We are committed to being good stewards of the resources God gives to us in order to continue serving the needs of hurting people.

    *adapted from MeierClinics.com