Frequently Asked Questions


Why did you choose the nautilus shell as your logo?

The shape of the nautilus shell has long been considered an example of perfect balance and proportion in nature. Each chamber of the shell represents another stage of the sea creatures life. We thought that the nautilus was on many levels an ideal image for the counseling process and for our counseling center.

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Will counseling do me any good?

Most people find counseling to be helpful. Having someone outside of your circle of friends and family to offer a more objective point of view can be quite helpful. Our therapists have literally spent years training themselves to listen and ask questions in helpful ways. Sometimes they can offer a new perspective that might help you move forward.

Will you benefit from counseling? At a minimum, counseling should provide at least two things. First, counseling provides a safe place to talk over difficulties with someone with some experience helping people with their difficulties. Second, counseling generally adds some clarity about decision-making options and provides a healthy place to brainstorm ideas about what to try next. But sometimes counseling can do more.

For example, some will want to look into why they are reacting to current situations the way they are. Others may have specific disorders that are not easily managed. Some may have a pile-up of difficulties. Whatever the case, counseling can be tailored to your situation and together with your therapist, you can sort out the goals that will make counseling meaningful for you.

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How long does counseling take?

Since counseling is used for so many different situations it is difficult to predict exactly how long counseling takes. Nevertheless we can predict some things. For example, right off your therapist will be making an assessment as to what the issues are. Once that assessment is complete, your therapist should be able to give you an estimate about time frames and frequency of meetings. Of course as problems unfold those estimates may need to be updated. This should be a topic you freely discuss with your therapist as you go along. Typically across all models and all problems, the average course of therapy lasts 8 to 12 sessions. Of course sometimes therapy goes for 2 sessions and other times for 20. The length of treatment depends on the problems being addressed, the motivation level of the client, skill and experience of your therapist, the strength of rapport between client and therapist, and the frequency of meetings which can affect the pace at which we can work on problems. All of these things should be talked over with your therapist if you have concerns about the length of treatment.

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Do I have to lie down on a couch? What is counseling like? 

While most of our offices do have couches in them, rarely do people lie down on them, unless they are ill. Our offices are set up much like a living room. Your therapist will first want to learn about you and why you have decided to come for counseling. Most clients find the conversation flowing quite naturally once things get rolling. Where counseling goes from there very much depends on where you want it to go. We think of counseling as a collaborative effort between you and your therapist. Together as a team, you both decide where you want to go with it.

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How much will counseling cost?

Fees vary somewhat and if you have questions about how the money part works these issues can be talked over with our staff before making your first appointment. Our financial policies can be downloaded with our Intake Forms here or you can read them when you receive them at your first appointment. We have several practicum who are available for a sliding scale based on your household income.

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Will my insurance cover the costs of counseling?

Many health insurance policies have some coverage for outpatient mental health but most expect you to pay some of the costs for counseling. To find out the details of your coverage, you should call your insurance carrier. They should be able to tell you exactly what they cover. If you are still unsure, you may want to call our office. One of our office staff can look into it further for you. It's not always easy to get clear answers about coverage but we will do all we can to help you find out what you need to know.

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Do I have to take off work to come?

All of our therapists have some evening and/or weekend hours available for appointments. But as you can imagine, evening and weekend appointments tend to get booked up first. When you call to schedule an appointment, we will try to match you with a therapist who is in your insurance plan and is available when you can attend.

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How confidential is counseling?

All of our therapists are licensed and therefore are bound by a code of ethics that limits the disclosure of any information to any outside person or entity without your express written consent. The limits of confidentiality are detailed on a sheet you will receive at your first appointment. If you have questions about this issue, feel free to discuss it with your therapist at any time. Please see our Privacy Notice!

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What do we believe about medication?

Medications can be a useful tool in the treatment of certain disorders but must be used cautiously and carefully. If you are going to utilize medication, we want you to be fully comfortable with what your medication can and cannot do for you. While we do not currently have any therapists who prescribe medications, when warranted, we are glad to work closely with your physician around any medication questions or issues you may have.

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What do the letters after a therapists name mean?

The following initials after the name designate therapists degrees:

  • M.D.—Medical Doctor
  • D.O.—Doctor of Osteopathy
  • Ph.D.—Doctor of Philosophy, usually specializing in Clinical Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Psy.D.—Doctor of Psychology
  • Ed. D.—Doctor of Education, usually specializing Counselor Education
  • D.S.W.—Doctor of Social Work
  • M.S.W.—Masters in Social Work
  • M.S.—Masters of Science, usually specializing in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, or Marriage and Family Therapy
  • M.A.—Masters of Arts, usually specializing in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, or Marriage and Family Therapy

It is confusing, isn't it? But to make matters more difficult some initials after a therapists name may refer to a license the therapist holds. Currently in Illinois there are 5 mental health licenses; 3 are sometimes designated with initials after the name. The 5 license categories are:

  • Psychiatry—Psychiatrists use only their degree initials after their name. No letters after the name designate this license. Only Pyschiatrists (and other Physicians) prescribe medications.
  • Psychology—Psychologists use only their degree initials after their name. No letters after the name designate this license.
  • Social work—Social workers often use the initials designating their license, i.e., either Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), after their name.
  • Marriage and family therapy—Marriage and family therapists often use the initials designating their license, i.e., either Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (ALMFT) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), after their name.
  • Professional counseling—Professional counselors often use the initials designating their license, i.e., either Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), after their name.

And then there are specialists in addictions which are certified through the Illinois Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA):

  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • Certified Reciprocal Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CRADC)
  • Certified Supervisor of Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CSADC)
  • Certified Master Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CMADC)
  • Employee Assistance Personnel (EAPs)

If you really want to understand your therapists training, its probably best to talk it over with him or her.

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Where are your offices and what is your coverage area?

We have three offices: St. Charles, Sandwich and Yorkville. Our office coverage area is much larger including: Geneva, Batavia, Aurora, Fox Valley, Plano, Oswego, Somonauk and the surrounding areas. Our locations can be found on the office locations page.