Most of us usually, and rightfully so, do everything they can to work things out on our own before we seek outside help. The thought of counseling crosses our minds several times before we actually make a call to find outside support. In the age of the internet, many of our clients have tried to find help by researching or googling. But articles of 5 or even 10 tips rarely become internalized to the point of making a difference in our daily lives.
When things still don’t improve — and we have tried everything we can think of (or realize that our friend’s suggestions only applied to themselves) — many of us opt for counseling.
By the time our clients visit LaunchPad, our Richmond-based counseling practice, their initial concerns have usually escalated to a more serious issue. This timing can make the healing process more difficult because the more time that passes, the deeper a our thoughts and behaviors settle in and become habits. In general, the sooner we address an issue, the quicker we resolve them.
If you are seeking counseling for yourself or your partner: Although conversations with friends are helpful in countless ways, when you discuss your emotions with a friend, they respond to you from their perspective. Your friend’s perspective includes their experiences, their belief system, and their feelings for you. These conversations enrich your worldview and can often move you to discover new alternatives and solutions.
In counseling however, your therapist is trained to, first of all, listen without bias. By listening, your counselor identifies what is important to YOU, based on your experiences, your relationships, and your values. A counselor then draws from research to provide feedback. Their responses are based on experiences and solutions that have worked with most people, instead of just drawing from their own experience.
A talk with a therapist is focused on you and the issue you bring to session. Whereas a friend or family member may have an emotional reaction to what you tell them, like judgment for example, your therapist has “heard it all.” Even though they care deeply about you, they are not easily shocked by what you may disclose. And, because they don’t have relationship with you outside of the session, their feelings for you or your relationship doesn’t cloud their responses. In that regard, the feedback from a therapist remains more unbiased. It is personalized to your particular situation, and based on what has worked for millions of people in the past.
If you are seeing counseling for your child: Think back to when you were a child. Would you have benefited from a neutral party that helped you make sense of your life? When you seek counseling support, you are choosing to have an objective and researched-based perspective on how to most effectively help your child and family. Play therapists can assess a child’s play and recognize underlying themes that provide insight into the child’s struggles. Often, children aren’t able to verbalize these struggles in a conversation. Even though the child often thinks they are “just playing” with their counselor, play therapists address the child’s thoughts, feelings and experiences through carefully selected games and activities that have a healing effect on the child’s emotions. Then, the counselor provides feedback to the parent on how to respond to their child at home. At LaunchPad, counselors also meet with parents for parent coaching to address specific issues around rewards, consequences, or communication with their child.
Therapy is an investment in your emotional wellbeing. By choosing to receive outside support and guidance on how to address issues tht are overwhelming you, you are dedicating time and effort required for long-term healing. Consider how much energy you spend on the issue that is pressing you to consider counseling. The long-term outcome of resolving emotional struggles has invaluable positive effects on your relationships, health, and peace of mind. Child counseling is most effective with weekly counseling sessions. As your child resolves underlying emotional issues, their behavior will improve. You will experience more peaceful interactions at home. And when your child is calmer, they’re able to learn better, build healthier relationships, and improve their behavior. The positive effects of working out emotional issues will benefit your child for the rest of their life. Adults often come to counseling weekly or every two weeks, depending on the issue they would like to address.
Insurance sometimes covers counseling sessions, although this involves adding a mental health diagnosis to your health history. You can also pay for counseling by using HSA or FSA accounts, which in turn does not require a diagnosis.
Play Therapy is a counseling approach using interactive, age-appropriate mediums to allow your child to process thoughts and feelings blocking them from happiness. Through toys, games, or art materials, counselors make the process as comfortable and effective as possible for the child’s unique healing needs. Often, because they feel they’re “just playing,” children and teens often don’t realize that they’re processing important emotional issues while doing so. Through Play Therapy, children learn to: communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn various ways of relating to others. Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the counselor guides the sessions and works closely with the children to address and resolve their problems through play-based interventions. Playing provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows them to express thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
LaunchPad Counseling is a general counseling practice. We started in 2014 with a focus on child and family counseling. Since then, we have expanded to working with adults (individuals and couples). As more therapists join our Richmond-based practice, specialties are added. Some of our counselors work exclusively with children or adults. Other’s take a more generalist approach and work with many different clients.
Children and Teens
Depending on your child’s needs, we may decide to focus on individual or family sessions, or a combination of the two. When we are working with a child or teen individually, we meet with the parent for the first or last few minutes every couple of sessions to provide parent feedback and discuss progress. During the child’s individual time, we may do age-appropriate activities like drawing, building their “world” in the sandtray, or playing. During family sessions, we may start off with games or collaborative art work between the parent and the child. From our experience, difficult issues resolve more effectively when everyone is comfortable together. Whether we use art, play, or any other interactive approach in sessions, we always have a therapeutic purpose or goal that is being addressed.
Whether we are working with parents or non-parent adults, we often incorporate interactive aspects like mandala drawing, sand-tray building, or mindfulness activities. These exercises move you at a comfortable but faster pace. However, we are not necessarily always creating art. We tailor the activities we do with you to the most effective way for you to achieve your goals. Sometimes, this means we’re talking together, and other times, engaging in a different activity. Your comfort level and preference guides how you and your counselor best address the issues you bring to your session.
Sessions are usually held weekly and take 45 – 50 minutes. If the client is a child, this includes time for our parent feedback. Research suggests that the typical child referred for treatment needs an average of 20 Play Therapy sessions in order to resolve problems. Of course, some children may improve more quickly while more serious or ongoing problems may take them longer to resolve (Landreth, 2002; Carmichael, 2006).
In adults, the length of treatment varies depending on the issue that is being addressed. It is common for sessions to be held weekly or biweekly. Many clients report enough improvement after only a few sessions. Others prefer to stay with us for longer.
Sometimes parents are concerned whether their child will be nervous about going to see a counselor or if they will like the therapist and “open up.” Being honest with your child is the most important approach. Keep the conversation simple. Here are some things to consider:
Young Children: Explain to young kids that their counselor is similar to a doctor but they talk and play with children to help them solve problems and feel better. Make sure they know this “doctor” doesn’t give shots!
Older Children and Teens: Your older child finds reassurance in knowing that what they say in session remains confidential. It helps when the child has already heard this before and knows the parent won’t pry. Make sure your child doesn’t think they are going to see a counselor because they are being bad. “A counselor will help you to feel better,” is more helpful than, “a counselor will help you get your behavior under control.” When children see the counselor as a rule enforcer or a punitive authority, establishing a trusting relationship takes much longer.
After a session, you may wonder how your child did. Here are some tips:
Asking the Therapist How the Session Went: Know that your counselor will be sure to inform you if specific details were discussed with your child that they feel you should know about. Because your child may have discussed emotional subjects, your counselor will not want to make your child feel uncomfortable. So, they may answer your concern by calling you after you leave. They may also simply nod “yes” if you ask them if everything is okay in front of your child, even if their conclusion for the session may not be that everything is “ok.”
Asking Your Child How the Session Went: When your child comes out of their session, you can simply ask, “Are you ready to go?” You can also follow up soon after with, “How are you feeling?” Overall, a general rule of thumb is to ask a question in a way that allows your child to tell you anything they want to disclose without feeling pressure. You don’t want them to feel nervous because you will want to know what they said in session. So, do your best to not bring judgment when voicing your concern.
Providing Support When They Offer Insight Into Their Session: If your child shares with you details about what they created in session, you can give praise in general terms. Often, a “wow” is enough for their emotional support. You can also praise their effort, by saying, “You made all that?” or, “You used a lot of different colors!” Matter-of-fact observations usually work best and provide the necessary acknowledgment. But be careful, if the child represented their inner struggles on paper, you may not want to say, “that’s so pretty!” General statements work best. Good examples include, “Wow, you did a lot of work,” or, “Oh, wow, I can see what you did there.”
Families play an important role in children’s healing processes. The interaction between children’s problems and their families is always complex. Children and families heal faster when they work together. The counselor will make some decisions about how and when to involve some or all family members. At a minimum, the therapist will communicate regularly with the child’s caretakers to develop a plan and monitor progress. Parents will receive feedback regularly. Other options might include family sessions, parent coaching on how to manage particular issues at home, or working directly with parents on other personal issues as described under the parent counseling section.
Confidentiality is very important to us. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. At certain times, speaking to others like your family doctor, a teacher, or other professional may be useful to the therapist. However, we will not do so unless you sign a Release of Information form. In working with your child, it is important for them to know that the content of their sessions is held private. Counselors will meet with parents separately to discuss progress and provide useful feedback. Meanwhile, children and teens are informed that counselors will disclose to their parents if they fear for the child’s safety. If the counselor deems a topic important for the parent to know, he or she will discuss this with the client.
State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for situations of suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources, or if the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
No. We have experience in working with an array of people who need to process thoughts and feelings around emotional issues keeping them from strength and happiness. We help adults relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, manage anger, and process traumatic experiences. We also provide couples counseling.
Intake Session (50 minutes): $150
Individual/Family Session (50 minutes): $90
Group Session: $20 – 40
Professional Licensure Supervision (hourly) $60
Group Professional Licensure Supervision (hourly): $30
We currently accept some Anthem BC/BS insurance plans In-Network. We are Out-Of-Network providers for most other insurance plans. Please contact your insurance company to make sure we accept your plan. If you plan to use Out-Of-Network benefits, we provide you with a bill so you can get reimbursed for a percentage of the total amount. To make this process easier for you, we detailed it here.
You can also pay for counseling sessions by using your HSA or FSA cards.
LaunchPad Counseling understands that on rare occasions, you may have to miss an appointment due to an emergency. Because we have set aside our professional time specifically for you, we do request that you notify us of any change in your availability.
If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment. If you reschedule within this timeframe, you will not be charged a session fee. Cancellations made less than 24 hours are charged a $50 fee. No-Shows are charged at full fee.
These cancellation fees and requirements also apply to online appointment cancellation and rescheduling.
We are always looking for licensed counselors, clinical social workers, and psychologists that will help LaunchPad Counseling make Richmond, Va., an even better place to live! If you enjoy working with children, teens, families, or couples, we invite the opportunity to know you. Please email your resume and cover letter to email@example.com.