By Linda G. Smith, MA
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Professional Counselor

                                       SOME SUGGESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU CALL FOR HELP.

Someone once said, "Life is a banquet and most of us are starving."  Imagine getting all dressed to go to a banquet.  After you arrive, you find a room filled with table adorned with lavish centerpieces and tablesettings.  there has been a special meal planned, including all of your favorites foods.  There are foods that you have never eaten.  You step to your table, but therm turn around, leave the room, and choose not to eat.

In life, it's hard to face the difficult things that happen to us.  Life is real and sometimes it is real hard.  But in life's journey, we do not have to go through anything alone.

there is a step that one can take.  It is what I call the Second Step. 

The first step is the realization that you are going through a difficult time and that you need some help.

The Second Step is when you decide to contact a counselor.  The second step may be the hard thing you may ever do.  Here are some suggestions that might be helpful for you.  


Stop beating yourself over the head with guilt, embarrassment or shame.  Many clients report feeling relief even after their first few secessions.  Be at peace with the fact that you are being responsible for your life by taking the Second Step.  Confidence is built when one begins to manage stress and the issue with constructive action versus reacting in unhealthy and destructive ways.  It may be easier to come on your own instead of coming at the insistence of a supervisor or a mandated order by a judge.


Counselors have Codes of Ethics about confidentiality and you should expect this.  I want to provide you with a safe environment that is conducive for discussing our issues in private.

Whether in a small town or a large urban area, I strive to take every precaution to protect your confidentiality.  When you come to counseling session, you might see someone you know sitting in the waiting room.  You do not have to feel pressured in discussing why you are there.  If they are there, it's obvious they are going through a difficult time, too.  You also might see your counselor out in the community.  If it is me, I will smile and greet you, but will not discuss how I know you.


Counseling is truly a collaboration and a partnership based on mutual respect and teamwork.  Rememer that you are the expert of your life.

As your counselor, I will want to talk about your problems, and will ask you to think about goals that you are willing to achieve.  You will be asked to be a willing active participant. within and outside of your sessions.  For example, you and I  might decide for you to work on some specific  homework.  Your willingness to complete the assignment is part of helping yourself.

Or you might have an addition.  You and your counselor might develop a contract about you refraining from using the substance or engaging in the behavior that is not part of your goal for treatment.

In closing, life is a banquet, a buffet, a brunch, and a smorgasbord.  No matter how you view it, life is real.  It's so special that
you do not have to starve yourself.  You do not have to starve yourself of getting the most out of life, experiencing joy, love, happiness, and peace of mind.  Real human nourishment.  You can have a life full of self-respect, self-control, and satisfaction.

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