Mary Sims Gerdes, MA, LPC, NCC

Counseling for adults, couples, and parents in Phoenix

Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling

What is Counseling?

Counseling is a helping process that values each person’s right to determine their own direction in life. This is especially beneficial to men and women that are navigating many decisions, transitions and choices. Simply put, we will have conversations about the things you want to talk about!

Counseling provides guidance, support and encouragement to people who are wrestling with psychological, personal, social or spiritual concerns. You may learn new coping strategies and how to communicate in a more effective manner. You might learn a new process for making decisions or ways to communicate effectively with your spouse or partner. Counselors can often provide a unique or broader perspective about the circumstances that are affecting you with regard to mental health and wellness, education and career goals.

Why work with a counselor?

There are so many benefits to participating in the counseling process.

Counseling helps regular people who may be experiencing uncommon levels of stress, need help managing their emotions or other problems, or completing their goals. You might learn new strategies, coping skills and what is really important to you. You will experience how it feels to have an advocate who cares about how you are and what you think. Counseling is designed to support you when you have tried to resolve things on your own, and need some help or a fresh perspective.

Counselors will also challenge you to think and do your best! The benefits of counseling are about helping you get to know yourself better so you can meet the challenges in your life and achieve your goals.

It takes courage to ask for help! Successful people ask for help when they need it and know it will be to their benefit. Many people who go through the counseling process feel empowered, confident and have greater self-esteem. Working with a counselor can help clear things out of your way so you can focus on next steps.

Who are counselors?

In general, Counselors tend to be people that act fairly and speak wisely. We advocate for our clients! We are experienced, trained and participate in on-going education.

Will my Counselor keep what I tell them confidential?

The best outcomes for counseling are built on the trust relationship between the counselor and their client. So generally speaking, yes, counseling is a confidential process. Please understand that there are exceptions to confidentiality: if your safety or the safety of others might be affected by the circumstances you are experiencing, your Counselor will report those concerns to the proper authorities, and to whomever else could be affected, or could help to keep you and others safe.

In addition, if you are participating in couples counseling, it is important to understand that secrets are not held from either member of the couple during the counseling process. Sharing truth, even when it’s hard to hear, is a necessary component for building healthy relationships.

During the course of counseling, if you want someone to know you are keeping counseling appointments, or if you want someone to know what general topics are being covered, you may sign a Release of Information giving me permission to talk about those things with the person you indicate.