Clarity Counseling Seattle

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

Choosing who to work with in therapy is a big decision and of course you have questions! This is a good thing – questions mean that you are invested in the process. We've collected some commonly asked questions here for you to look through. If you find that you have other questions or you need more information, just give our counseling office a call and we'll talk through any of your questions or concerns.

Online Therapy (Telehealth)

Private Online Therapy in 98109

Yes, the software we use for online therapy, SimplePractice, is built for therapists and has client privacy as its core. We take all of the recommended precautions in ensuring that your online therapy sessions in Seattle, WA are just as HIPAA-compliant as any discussion you would have in our offices.

Certainly! At any given time at least half of the people we help are couples, and that has not changed at all since moving to the online therapy format. Couples are perhaps enjoying the online approach more than individuals, as they can participate in exercises around communication and connection from the comfort of their couch, bed, or favorite chairs.

Online Therapy in Seattle for Couples Laptop sitting on a desk | Online Therapy Seattle WA

Many couples are reporting that they feel more at ease, more themselves, and that the therapist feels less like a 3rd person in the room. This is allowing them to connect more deeply and effectively with each other during sessions, which increases the effectiveness of couples counseling.

One surprise benefit of online couples therapy in Seattle is that, when the therapy session ends, the therapist can sign off but the couple can continue to sit where they are and further their growth & progress. We've heard couples come back the next week and tell us that they remained in conversation and connection well beyond the ending of last week's session and really benefited from blending their therapy session with us into doing helpful things on their own. And of course a goal for therapists is always to help clients, as quickly as possible, feel empowered to improve on their own so that they no longer feel they need our help.

And lastly, you don't need to be in the same room as your partner when doing your couples therapy sessions, as the SimplePractice software we use allows for the 3 of us to all sign in from different locations. It's preferable if you two can be together during therapy but not at all required.

We use HIPPA-complaint software, SimplePractice, that works much like Zoom. You are sent an email reminder 72-hours prior to your appointment, and then once again 10-minutes before your meeting time, and you just click the link within either of those reminder emails.

You can use your computer, laptop, smart phone, or tablet for your sessions.

Online Therapy in Seattle, WA

All you need is a decent internet connection and some privacy, though we know the latter can be a challenge these days. It's no problem if you want or need to be petting your cat or dog, sitting in your car, even attending to your child. If it works for you on your end, you can assume it works for us too.  :)

 

Absolutely. As of the creation of this FAQ, our practice is almost 6 weeks into doing all online therapy, which now includes hundreds of sessions. And what we are finding, admittedly to our surprise, is that we are indeed able to do nearly all of the therapeutic techniques, activities, and approaches that we would have incorporated into in-person sessions, including:

  • Couples therapy exercises for communication, connection, emotional intimacy;
  • Sharing handouts about topics to learn skills or enhance discussions;
  • Mindfulness, body awareness, guided imagery/visualization
  • Discussions that deepen insight, problem-solving, and practical skill-building

For couples, we can utilize all aspects of the Gottman Method and Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) in the online format. For individuals, the discussions and activities are just as accessible and engaging as they were when we were seeing people in our offices.

Teletherapy at Clarity Counseling Seattle

In truth, when the virus struck and all therapists had to move to teletherapy, most therapists were very concerned about how this format might impact how effective our treatments are. But to everyone's relief we have all discovered that therapy can be just as effective when online.

Close up of couple holding hands | Premarital Online Therapy Seattle WAOur answer to that is an enthusiastic 'yes'!  First we should say, if your wedding plans were delayed or cancelled we're so sorry to hear that. In the past many weeks we've spoken with so many couples who have had their wedding plans thwarted by the pandemic, and we can imagine how disappointing that must be.

With an uncertain timeline of when engaged couples can have their ceremony, yes, we absolutely recommend that you engage in premarital relationship therapy as soon as possible. The research on couples suggests this as well, that on average couples attend relationship therapy about 6 years later than they needed to.

Premarital Online Therapy in 98109

What is so valuable about premarital counseling in Seattle, WA is less about the type of therapy it is and more about the time period of a relationship within which it occurs. The challenges we will all face in our marriages are inevitable and unavoidable, but what we can do is to get ahead of those difficulties by learning skills and practices that can greatly reduce the common pitfalls of long-term relationships.

So it's never too early to start improving your relationship with help from a trained relationship therapist. It can only help.

Couples Therapy

Absolutely!  At Clarity Counseling Seattle we're pleased to offer online therapy (teletherapy) counseling services during the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that we each must do our part to slow the spread of Coronavirus by practicing social distancing, yet we’re also aware that our counseling clients still need professional help and guidance during this difficult time. 

To ensure the safety of our clients and treatment staff, and to provide excellent counseling services to the Seattle area, we are still offering a full schedule of online therapy (telehealth) each business day. 

Individual and couples counseling needs don’t go away during a worldwide health crisis, and if anything the high levels of stress and anxiety surrounding Coronavirus are bringing more people into therapy than ever before.

Online Therapy in Seattle, WAWoman sitting on her phone | Online Therapy Seattle WA

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19 stressors or simply by the challenges of daily life, we’re here for you. Your mental and relational health matter, especially during something like what we are all experiencing right now. Our Seattle office offers online counseling (teletherapy) sessions to discuss issues such as:

  • Depression or loneliness related to self-isolation or community quarantines;
  • Difficulty adjusting to a new work-from-home schedule or having your young children out of school;
  • Financial worries or fears about living on a reduced income;
  • Concern for vulnerable loved ones;
  • Household stress with a spouse or partner

Whether you are an existing client who is attending individual/couples counseling or are brand new to our practice, our caring and compassionate counselors are happy to meet with you remotely. Our teletherapy in Seattle is available to anyone who would like to schedule a session, and we offer convenient evening hours to fit your schedule. 

To speak with a Seattle-area counselor about online teletherapy during the COVID-19 outbreak, please call Clarity Counseling Seattle today at (206) 910-1218. 

Woman holding head in hands | Seattle WA TherapistTherapy for Couples at Clarity Counseling Seattle

Clients in individual counseling will sometimes bring their partner in for one or two sessions to discuss issues as a couple, and we strongly encourage this when appropriate. Sometimes an individual counseling arrangement with someone leads to couples work and the individual counseling with the original partner either continues with us or is discontinued while the couples therapy is happening. 

However, if you are working with one of us individually and your partner also desires individual counseling, please recognize that one therapist cannot see both members of a couple individually at the same time. We are often referred clients by other therapists who currently work with one member of the couple yet need a counselor for the other member. If you are working with one of the therapists at Clarity Counseling Seattle and you find that your partner would like their own counseling, you can either work with another Clarity therapist or we have a number of other trusted colleagues in the area to whom your partner can be referred.

 

Sex & Intimacy Therapy in Seattle

Not at all, and in fact many sex-related and intimacy-related issues such as low sex drive, problems bonding with sexual partners outside the bedroom, and so much more, have little to do with being in a partnered relationship. And if you are in a relationship but your partner is unable or unwilling to attend therapy with you, we can still work effectively on sex/intimacy challenges as an individual in therapy.

Woman smiling | Seattle WA CounselingIf your partner won't go to counseling it might be helpful to go without them.

Couples Counseling for One

One situation we've seen is that one partner may put off going to counseling because they want some proof from their partner that counseling is really on the table. In other words, they want to see you make some changes on your own before they'll commit to counseling. 

If counseling has come up but your partner won't go right now, you have an opportunity to change this by taking the time to focus on your own challenges and begin making your own changes first. 

Couple holding hands | Therapist Seattle WAResearch shows that couples often enter into marriage counseling about six years later than they needed help. While we cannot guarantee that working with a counselor, either individually or as a couple, can save your relationship (nor should anyone make that promise), we can say that a couple has not done everything they can for an ailing relationship if they have not yet sought professional help. We go to doctors when our bodies are ailing, to lawyers for legal help, and accountants for tax expertise. Couples counseling is where we turn if we find that we need expertise in creating and maintaining healthy relationships. 

Couples Counseling in Seattle

Having said this, if our work together, either in individual counseling or with your partner, cannot save your relationship, we can work together to help you so that you can create a different type of relationship the next time around. Anyways that you learn and grow in therapy will benefit the relationship you are in for the rest of your life, whoever that relationship is with.

Couple smiling at one another | seattle wa counselingCouples counseling is conducted very similarly to individual therapy, so if you have ever done individual therapy then couples work will be familiar. In the sessions, we explore and work through the factors that are causing or contributing to the couple's distress:  communication skills, emotional closeness, creating an emotionally safe environment, feelings validation, stating underlying needs, personal family-of-origin contributors, etc. Some focus is on each individual to understand how they are contributing to the challenges, but much of the aim of couples therapy is on the dynamics that occur between the two partners.

What To Expect During Couples Therapy in Seattle, WA

We have a discussion, we maybe read something brief that helps explain what the couple is experiencing, we do practical skill-building, and often add communication exercises that the couple does in session. Couples therapy is a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental place to learn and explore the places a couple gets stuck, typically leaving the office with practical tools to implement at home to immediately enact positive change.

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

Individual Counseling

Absolutely!  At Clarity Counseling Seattle we're pleased to offer online therapy (teletherapy) counseling services during the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that we each must do our part to slow the spread of Coronavirus by practicing social distancing, yet we’re also aware that our counseling clients still need professional help and guidance during this difficult time. 

To ensure the safety of our clients and treatment staff, and to provide excellent counseling services to the Seattle area, we are still offering a full schedule of online therapy (telehealth) each business day. 

Individual and couples counseling needs don’t go away during a worldwide health crisis, and if anything the high levels of stress and anxiety surrounding Coronavirus are bringing more people into therapy than ever before.

Online Therapy in Seattle, WAWoman sitting on her phone | Online Therapy Seattle WA

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19 stressors or simply by the challenges of daily life, we’re here for you. Your mental and relational health matter, especially during something like what we are all experiencing right now. Our Seattle office offers online counseling (teletherapy) sessions to discuss issues such as:

  • Depression or loneliness related to self-isolation or community quarantines;
  • Difficulty adjusting to a new work-from-home schedule or having your young children out of school;
  • Financial worries or fears about living on a reduced income;
  • Concern for vulnerable loved ones;
  • Household stress with a spouse or partner

Whether you are an existing client who is attending individual/couples counseling or are brand new to our practice, our caring and compassionate counselors are happy to meet with you remotely. Our teletherapy in Seattle is available to anyone who would like to schedule a session, and we offer convenient evening hours to fit your schedule. 

To speak with a Seattle-area counselor about online teletherapy during the COVID-19 outbreak, please call Clarity Counseling Seattle today at (206) 910-1218. 

Woman looking troubled | Therapy in SeattleWomen seeking relationship help often seek counseling with our male therapists because of our deep understanding of men's issues, issues that often play a key role in the relationship problems they experience with their boyfriends or husbands. Part of the clarity we provide for women is in helping them better understand their partners in ways that are sometimes more easily understood by another male.

Importance of Therapeutic Relationship 

Another consideration is that therapists sometimes recommend that clients enter into therapy with a therapist who is of the gender they may have issues with or are triggered by. So, for example, women who have issues with men (possibly related to fathers in childhood, male authority figures, ex-boyfriends/husbands, abuse/trauma, etc.) are sometimes better helped by working with a male therapist. This is because the therapeutic relationship helps to bring to light those issues and provides a safe place to work through those issues in a more direct way.

Female Therapists at Clarity Counseling Seattle

And yes, there have been many times that it has been appropriate to direct some of our male clients to trusted and wonderful female therapists, both within our practice and to nearby female therapists. We're so fortunate to have found and hired Paige Geisinger, who is a skilled female therapist serving a number of both our male and female clients. 

 

Female therapist and male patient | Counseling SeattlePsychiatric medications are sometimes used along with talk therapy, usually when people are diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Therapy and Medications

It is commonly recommended that talk therapy be incorporated into one's treatment whenever psychiatric medications are being used, as the combination of talk therapy and medications tends to work well together. An antidepressant may lift a person's mood, for example, allowing them to participate more fully in psychotherapy and therefore bring about more lasting change.

We have working relationships with trusted doctors, naturopaths, and nurse practitioners (ARNPs) in the area who can do medication management with clients if medication is appropriate. 

Woman holding head in hands | Seattle WA TherapistTherapy for Couples at Clarity Counseling Seattle

Clients in individual counseling will sometimes bring their partner in for one or two sessions to discuss issues as a couple, and we strongly encourage this when appropriate. Sometimes an individual counseling arrangement with someone leads to couples work and the individual counseling with the original partner either continues with us or is discontinued while the couples therapy is happening. 

However, if you are working with one of us individually and your partner also desires individual counseling, please recognize that one therapist cannot see both members of a couple individually at the same time. We are often referred clients by other therapists who currently work with one member of the couple yet need a counselor for the other member. If you are working with one of the therapists at Clarity Counseling Seattle and you find that your partner would like their own counseling, you can either work with another Clarity therapist or we have a number of other trusted colleagues in the area to whom your partner can be referred.

 

woman smiling | Seattle Therapist Absolutely! We have a great deal of experience helping women in counseling and have always enjoyed working with female clients. Though one of our specialties is working with men on men's issues and the man's role in relationships, our experience, training, and interests also include many of the issues women seek counseling for. At any given time a large percentage of our clients are female. 

Paige Geisinger

And for folks who prefer to work with a female therapist, we're thrilled to have Paige Geisinger onboard. Paige works with men, women, families and couples, and has been a wonderful addition to our team. She goes in and out of being full (because she's good!) but please check out her profile page to see if she is currently available to help you.

Sex & Intimacy Therapy in Seattle

Not at all, and in fact many sex-related and intimacy-related issues such as low sex drive, problems bonding with sexual partners outside the bedroom, and so much more, have little to do with being in a partnered relationship. And if you are in a relationship but your partner is unable or unwilling to attend therapy with you, we can still work effectively on sex/intimacy challenges as an individual in therapy.

Woman smiling | Seattle WA CounselingIf your partner won't go to counseling it might be helpful to go without them.

Couples Counseling for One

One situation we've seen is that one partner may put off going to counseling because they want some proof from their partner that counseling is really on the table. In other words, they want to see you make some changes on your own before they'll commit to counseling. 

If counseling has come up but your partner won't go right now, you have an opportunity to change this by taking the time to focus on your own challenges and begin making your own changes first. 

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

EMDR Therapy in Seattle, WA

EMDR is an optional way for some people to work on certain issues. It isn't at all a requirement, and may not even be appropriate for your needs. Plus the manner in which we work together is always an agreed-upon collaboration with client and therapist. Our therapists are skilled in many forms of individual therapy, with EMDR being just one of them.

Men's Therapy

Man smiling | Counseling in Seattle[Justin Pere answering] I have a great deal of experience working with female counselors, both as a colleague and as a client, so I very much believe in males working with female counselors. Some of my most influential mentors were (and are!) the women I encountered in a therapeutic setting over the years. However, I discovered long ago the power of working with a male therapist and have believed in the pairing of men in a therapeutic setting ever since.

Benefits of a Male Therapist for Men's Therapy

A therapist need not have experienced every issue a client brings into counseling to be able to work effectively with them (what tortured souls therapists would be if that were the case!), however the value of a therapist being able to relate in a very personal way to the majority of issues men bring into therapy is immeasurable, and the same-sex commonality of counselor and client is one I have come to believe in.

Additionally, men generally have a much harder time opening up about their problems than women and often find it easier to discuss certain issues with another male.

Female therapist and male patient | Counseling SeattlePsychiatric medications are sometimes used along with talk therapy, usually when people are diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Therapy and Medications

It is commonly recommended that talk therapy be incorporated into one's treatment whenever psychiatric medications are being used, as the combination of talk therapy and medications tends to work well together. An antidepressant may lift a person's mood, for example, allowing them to participate more fully in psychotherapy and therefore bring about more lasting change.

We have working relationships with trusted doctors, naturopaths, and nurse practitioners (ARNPs) in the area who can do medication management with clients if medication is appropriate. 

Man smiling | Seattle WA TherapyMen's Therapy in Seattle, WA

Men enter into counseling for a number of reasons, many of them the same as those that bring women into therapy, but the following are issues we often work with men on:

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

Sex/Intimacy Therapy

Female therapist and male patient | Counseling SeattlePsychiatric medications are sometimes used along with talk therapy, usually when people are diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Therapy and Medications

It is commonly recommended that talk therapy be incorporated into one's treatment whenever psychiatric medications are being used, as the combination of talk therapy and medications tends to work well together. An antidepressant may lift a person's mood, for example, allowing them to participate more fully in psychotherapy and therefore bring about more lasting change.

We have working relationships with trusted doctors, naturopaths, and nurse practitioners (ARNPs) in the area who can do medication management with clients if medication is appropriate. 

The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) has very stringent requirements for training and experience in the area of sex therapy. Sexual health professionals have rigorous standards for academic preparation, supervised training and consultation, field-related experience and applied skills.

Training for Sex Therapy

Sex therapists read a great deal of academic books, attend many (many!) hours of clinical trainings and workshops in this specialty, do peer consultation, and study under seasoned clinicians who are considered masters in this field. Personally, I (Justin Pere) have studied with and experienced this field through Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers at Seattle Pacific University and Dr. Stella Resnick in Los Angeles, California.

 

Compass | Therapist Seattle WASex therapy works just like a typical individual or couples therapy session at our Seattle, WA counseling office - the focus is just on sex-related topics and is conducted by a therapist who is highly trained in this area. Clients are helped to talk through and understand the causes of their sex or intimacy challenges, as well as the known solutions to issues such as mismatched sexual desire between partners, low or no sex drive, overactive sex drive, sexless marriages, and more. Homework exercises are often given, as well as educational materials that help to bring the issue to its resolution.

Sex Therapy Governed by the AASECT

Sex therapy treatment is governed by the American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Sex Therapy does not ever involve physical instruction or observation of a sex act by the therapist. Sometimes folks have the misperception that there is any type of sexual activity that occurs in the therapy office, which is absolutely untrue. Persons participating in the session will always be clothed and maintain professional boundaries at all times.

Please reach out to us if you have other questions about sex therapy at our Seattle, WA office.

Man smiling | Seattle WA TherapyMen's Therapy in Seattle, WA

Men enter into counseling for a number of reasons, many of them the same as those that bring women into therapy, but the following are issues we often work with men on:

Sex & Intimacy Therapy in Seattle

Not at all, and in fact many sex-related and intimacy-related issues such as low sex drive, problems bonding with sexual partners outside the bedroom, and so much more, have little to do with being in a partnered relationship. And if you are in a relationship but your partner is unable or unwilling to attend therapy with you, we can still work effectively on sex/intimacy challenges as an individual in therapy.

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

Couples Therapy for One

Woman holding head in hands | Seattle WA TherapistTherapy for Couples at Clarity Counseling Seattle

Clients in individual counseling will sometimes bring their partner in for one or two sessions to discuss issues as a couple, and we strongly encourage this when appropriate. Sometimes an individual counseling arrangement with someone leads to couples work and the individual counseling with the original partner either continues with us or is discontinued while the couples therapy is happening. 

However, if you are working with one of us individually and your partner also desires individual counseling, please recognize that one therapist cannot see both members of a couple individually at the same time. We are often referred clients by other therapists who currently work with one member of the couple yet need a counselor for the other member. If you are working with one of the therapists at Clarity Counseling Seattle and you find that your partner would like their own counseling, you can either work with another Clarity therapist or we have a number of other trusted colleagues in the area to whom your partner can be referred.

 

woman smiling | Seattle Therapist Absolutely! We have a great deal of experience helping women in counseling and have always enjoyed working with female clients. Though one of our specialties is working with men on men's issues and the man's role in relationships, our experience, training, and interests also include many of the issues women seek counseling for. At any given time a large percentage of our clients are female. 

Paige Geisinger

And for folks who prefer to work with a female therapist, we're thrilled to have Paige Geisinger onboard. Paige works with men, women, families and couples, and has been a wonderful addition to our team. She goes in and out of being full (because she's good!) but please check out her profile page to see if she is currently available to help you.

Man smiling | Seattle WA TherapyMen's Therapy in Seattle, WA

Men enter into counseling for a number of reasons, many of them the same as those that bring women into therapy, but the following are issues we often work with men on:

Sex & Intimacy Therapy in Seattle

Not at all, and in fact many sex-related and intimacy-related issues such as low sex drive, problems bonding with sexual partners outside the bedroom, and so much more, have little to do with being in a partnered relationship. And if you are in a relationship but your partner is unable or unwilling to attend therapy with you, we can still work effectively on sex/intimacy challenges as an individual in therapy.

Woman smiling | Seattle WA CounselingIf your partner won't go to counseling it might be helpful to go without them.

Couples Counseling for One

One situation we've seen is that one partner may put off going to counseling because they want some proof from their partner that counseling is really on the table. In other words, they want to see you make some changes on your own before they'll commit to counseling. 

If counseling has come up but your partner won't go right now, you have an opportunity to change this by taking the time to focus on your own challenges and begin making your own changes first. 

Couple holding hands | Therapist Seattle WAResearch shows that couples often enter into marriage counseling about six years later than they needed help. While we cannot guarantee that working with a counselor, either individually or as a couple, can save your relationship (nor should anyone make that promise), we can say that a couple has not done everything they can for an ailing relationship if they have not yet sought professional help. We go to doctors when our bodies are ailing, to lawyers for legal help, and accountants for tax expertise. Couples counseling is where we turn if we find that we need expertise in creating and maintaining healthy relationships. 

Couples Counseling in Seattle

Having said this, if our work together, either in individual counseling or with your partner, cannot save your relationship, we can work together to help you so that you can create a different type of relationship the next time around. Anyways that you learn and grow in therapy will benefit the relationship you are in for the rest of your life, whoever that relationship is with.

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

Pre-Marital & Pre-Commitment Therapy

A common question we’re asked is if our premarital or precommitment therapy is a set program that lasts a certain amount of sessions. Though we all do premarital or precommitment therapy a little differently, as would most therapists, we don't require that you are on any kind of program. From the moment you arrive at your first session, we work to help you to understand the components of your relationship that need your attention, and then how to skillfully and effectively improve those areas. How long that takes can certainly vary, but we find that most premarital couples stay with us for at least 10 sessions. Couple in premarital therapy Seattle

What Happens During a Premarital Therapy Session?

We use the Gottman Relationship Checkup, which takes about an hour to complete at home, to be able to quickly get to the areas of your relationship that need attention. We teach you skills, provide helpful information, and support you in having necessary conversations that will pave the way for the two of you to work as a team with whatever your marriage or commitment will challenge you with.

The Benefits of Precommitment Therapy

Selfishly we all love to work with premarital or precommitment couples! It’s just so neat to be able to help couples to avoid the common pitfalls of long-term relationships that would creep up if the couple didn’t take these preventative steps. All relationship skills can be learned, and really you can never start too soon in gaining some knowledge and establishing healthy couple habits that will allow for a stable and rewarding lifelong union.

 

Contact Clarity Counseling Seattle if you wish to start premarital or precommitment therapy.

Premarital counseling exists to help couples better prepare for marriage while they are still dating or engaged. 

At Clarity Counseling Seattle, we love working with couples in our premarital counseling sessions because we know the difference that a solid foundation built before marriage can make to a couple during their marriage. 

Pre-Marital Therapy in Seattle, WA

Premarital counseling in Seattle gives you and your partner a chance to discuss some of the “big ticket” topics in a safe, private environment before beginning your marriage. According to the Mayo Clinic, common areas of discussion include:

  • Goals for your marriage
  • Perceptions of how politics, religion, and belief systems will impact your relationship
  • Finances, debt, and career aspirations 
  • Attitudes toward sex, intimacy, and affection
  • Your individual families and your hopes for your new family
  • Feelings about gender roles and sharing household chores and responsibilities 

Premarital counseling sessions help you learn healthier communication and anger management skills and practice resolving conflicts in a way that benefits both partners.

Contact Clarity Counseling Seattle for More Information

At Clarity Counseling Seattle, our licensed therapists and marriage counselors know how to help couples strengthen their bonds early on and prevent problems from escalating once those couples enter into a marriage. Partners who participate in premarital counseling typically have a better understanding of what the other person wants and expects from them going into their commitment than partners who don’t.

Man sitting at desk writing in notebook | Therapy Seattle WAHere are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions in Seattle, WA:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
  3. Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Book your next therapy session at Clarity Counseling Seattle

If you are looking for a new therapist, contact Clarity Counseling Seattle and we can discuss options for you. 

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

EMDR for Trauma & Abuse & Lifespan Integration Therapy

Person holding compass in the mountains | Lifespan Integration Seattle WAOften we come to therapy because we are doing, thinking, feeling, or saying things we know don’t quite make sense to us: “Why am I still scared all these years later?” “I don’t know why I get so mad – it just happens.” “I keep on lying to her and I don’t understand why?”

Lifespan Integration Therapy in Seattle, WA

If you could just talk or think your way out of these challenges, you would! Lifespan Integration is especially helpful with these kinds of stuck thoughts, emotions, and behavior that feel beyond your logical control.

By building a more integrated self, you become more able to engage your life using all of your present-day capacity rather than a more limited, automatic, younger response. LI is structured in a way that allows this to happen more quickly than many other approaches to therapy.

To learn more or schedule an appointment for lifespan integration therapy in 98109, reach out to Clarity Counseling Seattle today!

A Lifespan Integration session looks more like guided meditation or hypnotherapy than traditional talk therapy.  During your LI sessions your therapist will use one of several LI “protocols” to repeatedly walk you through a “movie” of your life. For example, if you are having difficult emotions many years after a traumatic event, your therapist might repeatedly walk you through memories of that event and other things that have happened since then to help “prove” to your nervous system that the event is over. In some cases, you might visualize going back in time to join with a younger version of yourself and re-imagine a different outcome to a traumatic memory. A good Lifespan Integration therapist will work in collaboration with you to determine what specific protocols will be most effective in bringing you relief from the issues you are seeking help with.

Lifespan Integration in Seattle

Traveling through time (in a sense) from the past memory scene to the present is usually repeated 3 - 8 times during a session. *Older clients and clients with more traumatic childhoods often require more repetitions of the LI protocol to clear the memories of trauma and to "re-write" the life script more accurately.

Each repetition of the timeline protocol shows the client a slightly different "moving picture show". For people who have trouble remembering their past, this approach to therapy can be extremely effective. During LI therapy, clients who began with gaps in their memory are eventually able to connect the pieces of their lives into a coherent whole.

Lifespan Integration at Clarity Counseling Seattle

The Lifespan Integration technique relies on the innate ability of the body-mind to heal itself. Lifespan Integration uses a psychological technique called an "affect bridge" to find a memory that is connected to the current challenge the client is experiencing. The therapist guides the client to re-visit in their imagination a past memory, bringing into the past whatever is needed to resolve the memory. After the memory is resolved, the therapist leads the client through time to the present using a time line of visual images of scenes from the client's life. This time line of memories and images essentially proves to the client's body-mind system that time has passed and that life is different now, by way of the neural connections that are created within the brain and central nervous system. Very much like what happens in EMDR treatment, this "proof" occurs at a deeper level than is possible with commonly used talk therapy methods.

Earlier memories and experiences influence how the brain and nervous system respond to present-day events. By effectively integrating past experiences, we can break free of stuck emotions, feelings, and behaviors that result from trauma and other emotional scars. A skilled LI therapist can provide a predictable and safe framework to do the work of integrating the past in order to free us in the present.

Silhouette of man | Seattle WA TherapistNo, and it is very common for people in today's thought-focused and hurried world to be up in their heads through much of their lives.

Mindfulness Important to EMDR Therapy

It is definitely necessary for you to be able to notice body sensations and emotional experience while in session, but learning to do so is part of the process and there are many ways of helping folks begin to connect with their bodies and emotions so that EMDR can work. This is partly where the mindfulness piece comes in, with clients learning how to allow for their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations to communicate with each other, which is how our systems are meant to function. 

EMDR Therapy in Seattle, WA

EMDR is an optional way for some people to work on certain issues. It isn't at all a requirement, and may not even be appropriate for your needs. Plus the manner in which we work together is always an agreed-upon collaboration with client and therapist. Our therapists are skilled in many forms of individual therapy, with EMDR being just one of them.

woman on cellphoneMany people doing EMDR therapy do not have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress.

EMDR Therapy for More Than Just PTSD

Though originally developed for treatment of PTSD, over 25 years of research, usage, and adaptation by tens of thousands of EMDR therapists have led to its application with a large number of issues, including depression, anxiety, phobias, unhealthy relationship patterns, abandonment issues, low self-esteem, inhibited performance, grief, insomnia, panic, and procrastination. I am able to effectively utilize this approach with nearly all of my clients, most of whom do not qualify as having post-traumatic stress.

Remember that trauma actually has a very broad definition and can be caused by anything from a critical parent to a bad breakup to an embarrassing moment as a child.

Profile of man | Therapist WA SeattleWe don't typically incorporate the EMDR approach into couples work; however, our knowledge and training in EMDR absolutely informs and aids the work with couples in various ways. We have also done individual EMDR work with the partner present, which can be a profound experience for the observing partner to further empathize, understand, and connect with their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend as both are present to witness past pain being transformed and healed.

EMDR Community

We are also well connected with the EMDR community in the Seattle area and can provide referrals for some wonderful EMDR therapists nearby who can do the individual EMDR work for a member of a couple currently working with Clarity Counseling Seattle.

Man thinking | Seattle WA CounselingEMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is an evidence-based therapy that can help resolve painful life patterns by changing the way negative memories are stored in the brain. EMDR has a history of treatment and extensive research going back to the 1980s, is used by over 70,000 practitioners worldwide, and typically works much faster and more deeply than traditional talk therapy. 

Millions of people of all ages have relieved many types of psychological stress with the assistance of EMDR therapy.

The name can be misleading, or even intimidating, as it suggests that eye movements are necessary, although they are not often used anymore (more on this in a moment). And what is meant by "desensitization" anyway?

History of EMDR

The researcher who discovered this in the late 1980s, Dr. Francine Shapiro, has been quoted as saying that she wishes the approach had simply been named "reprocessing therapy" as this is essentially what is occurring when people heal using this therapy. Based on what we now know about the human brain's ability to change, grow, and heal itself (often referred to as neuroplasticity), it seems that EMDR sets up the brain to be able to rewire, or reprocess, itself with updated, healthy beliefs. 

This is accomplished by determining which past experiences are still lingering in a person's brain and body that contain unprocessed emotions (fear and guilt, for example), body memory (muscle tension, panic response, racing heartbeat), and false negative beliefs ("I'm in danger," "It's my fault", and so forth). Once we have a list of those experiences, or "targets," we help the client connect to those targeted memory networks by guiding them into a relaxed, mindful state (relaxed, not hypnotized). Once they have accessed the troublesome memory network, we then help the client use guided imagery, free association, and the healing power of their own mind to "process" the unprocessed memory.

Our minds and bodies move toward healing and will begin doing this primarily on their own, with the aid of the therapist to guide the process as needed. 

Silhouette of man | Therapy Seattle WANo, during EMDR therapy you are simply guided into a relaxed, almost meditative state where you are fully aware of your surroundings and are completely present the entire time. In fact, being fully present is a necessary part of how working through your past occurs, while also not retraumatizing you as you connect with the memory networks of difficult past experiences.

EMDR Process

We are essentially helping you put one foot in the past experience while keeping the other in the present, working to connect the two so that the knowledge of your current status ("I got through it," "There's nothing wrong with me," "It wasn't my fault," and so forth) can positively impact the past negative experience we're helping you connect to, literally merging these two memory networks in a healthy way.

This dual awareness couldn't occur if you were put into some hypnotized or trance-like state. Instead, we are just starting sessions by helping you relax and notice your present experience (body sensations, emotions, and thoughts) so that you can incorporate your body and emotions into the process. 

Man writing in journal | Therapist Seattle WATalking uses your left-brain functions that are based on logic and reason. We can know logically that, say, something that occurred in the past was long ago; however, our right-brain processes and our bodies are where our traumas are held.

Past Negative Experiences

Remnants of past negative experiences that continue to cause us distress in the present are held in our nervous systems, not in our left-brain logic. We frequently hear statements like "I know this shouldn't still bother me... but it does," or "I know I don't need to feel this way anymore... but I still do." It is your left brain that is making the first part of that statement and your right brain and body following the "but," which will win out over your left-brain logic most times.

Work on Lasting Change

We can't just talk our way into lasting change when it comes to emotions, body, and beliefs. We have to get to where this problematic material is actually held within our system, which must be by way of emotions and body awareness, not spoken words. 

Interested in pursuing the EMDR approach to therapy? Please reach out!

Man in beanie | Therapist SeattleAbsolutely.

EMDR is a science-based psychotherapy. Leading mental health organizations worldwide have accepted treatment with EMDR for a variety of symptoms and conditions. EMDR has been practiced by nearly 70,000 therapists around the world for the past 25 years and is endorsed by multiple professional associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

EMDR Institute

Organizations like the EMDR Institute and the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) are organizations for researchers and practitioners who are dedicated to the highest standards of excellence and integrity in EMDR and are working to advance the education, practice, and science of EMDR. 

Clock on desk | Seattle WA TherapyIt is nearly impossible to predict how long someone will need therapy, given any therapeutic approach. Still, it is very common for people to report benefits from body-focused therapies like EMDR that they never received from traditional talk therapy, even after years of approaching their problems in that way, and in much less time.

EMDR Therapy in Seattle

Therapeutic approaches like EMDR, along with mindfulness, are what we believe to be the most efficient, effective, and lasting ways to help people make the changes for which they are seeking therapy. 

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