Your initial intake session will be approximately 60 minutes long. Your following sessions will be 53-59 minutes long, unless requested otherwise. These time increments are standard practice, often referred to as the “therapeutic hour”. (Please note that insurance policies may impact whether you are able to shorten or extend the length of an individual session outside of the standard therapeutic hour.)
The address to our facility is: 380 Caratoke Highway, Suite J, Moyock, NC 27958. We are located in the Rose & Womble Real Estate building, directly in between Harvey’s Outdoor Furniture and Stateline Builders. Our one level building is light blue and has a pavilion shape. You will also see a paved parking lot in front of and extending to the side of the building, where you may park free of charge. You will receive an email two days prior to your appointment that also provides directions and instructions to prepare you for your appointment. If you run into any difficulties, please give us a call.
Peaceful Waters’ staff, employees, and affiliates take confidentiality and privacy very seriously. Likewise, the law protects the relationship between client and psychotherapist. Therefore, information cannot be disclosed without a client’s specific written permission. However, there are a few exceptions by law, that you will need to be aware of:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which we are required by law to report immediately to the appropriate authorities.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person or persons, we may notify the police and/or inform the intended victim(s).
- If a client intends to harm themselves, we will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, we will take further measures that are provided to us by law in order to ensure their safety.
- If records are subpoenaed by a court of law, we will first work to obtain a signed authorization/release form from the client. Our providers will release only the minimum relevant and necessary information. If a client objects to the release of records, the provider or the client's attorney may file a motion to quash the subpoena on the basis of protection of client-therapist privilege and the client's privacy. Peaceful Waters’ number one code of ethics is to “do no harm”, and we make every effort possible to protect client information and content of sessions.
**Peaceful Waters also stores client data and notes in a HIPAA compliant database.
Length of therapy can vary depending on your specific needs and circumstances. Some people come to therapy with a specific issue or concern, and brief solution-focused therapy may be the right fit. This can last anywhere from six to eight sessions. Some people come to therapy to explore issues that seem to run a little deeper. They might engage in therapy for several months or even years.
Going to your first counseling session can be intimidating, especially if you have never been to counseling before. Here are a few general ideas of what you might expect if you’re heading to therapy for the first time.
You don’t have to lay on a couch (unless you want to get extra comfy!). Like childbirth, therapy is yet another thing TV and movies get wrong. The ball is completely in your court when it comes to how you make yourself most comfortable while in session. You can sit, stand, lie down, dance a jig—whatever makes you comfortable and more willing to open up.
Bring in whatever you need to feel comfortable.
Always cold? Bring a sweater. Have a tickle in your throat? Pack some cough drops. The more comfortable you are, the more willing you will be to open up. You probably don’t need to bring tissues— we have those covered!
You’ll fill out some paperwork.
To eliminate the time spent on paperwork, we ask you to fill out your paperwork online via our Client Portal prior to your first session. This also allows your provider time to become familiar with your situation before your appointment. If you are unable to complete it online, do not worry! Our staff will provide you with a paper copy during check in. Please arrive 30 minutes early, if filling out paperwork in person, as this gives ample amount of time to answer questions without rushing and doesn’t cut into your therapy session.
You’ll talk over administrative details.
HIPAA compliance, payment, scheduling, cancellations, confidentiality—all that good stuff will be covered in your first session and in your provider’s Professional Disclosure Statement.
The first session probably won’t get down to the nitty-gritty.
The first session is mostly a get-to-know-you session. The session will be a mix of free-flowing conversation and some general questions/history gathering to get started. You will most certainly get the chance to talk about your issues and why you decided to start counseling, but 60 minutes just isn’t enough time to introduce yourself and do a deep dive. You’re setting the scene for future sessions and allowing space for trust and connection to bloom-- which is crucial to a successful outcome from therapy!
Expect lots of questions in your first session.
In later sessions, you’ll probably do a lot of talking, but at the first session, we like to be engaged and aim to formulate a specific therapeutic plan for you—and that means asking a lot of questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to talk about, your provider will help guide the conversation.
You’ll probably have to answer the question, “How are you doing today?” or, “How do you feel today?”
What seems like an innocuous question when you’re interacting with someone on the street becomes an important jump off point for your therapeutic relationship. This isn’t polite chit-chat, it’s a real question from your therapist. So, don’t be shocked if you get probed to go deeper than “fine” or “okay” or “not great.”
You will set some goals/directions for your counseling relationship.
Expect to be asked about what goals you have for therapy and why you are there. Together, you will work with your provider to set a path to reach those goals (or maybe adjust the goals if they aren’t realistic or fitting).
Your provider will take notes.
Your provider may type or hand write notes during a session. This helps your provider to reflect on the details you voice out loud that may be easy to pass by as conversation flows. However, your therapist will still be paying attention to you and is trained to multitask in this arena.
Don’t be surprised if you open up more than you expected to.
There is something really freeing about being in a room alone with a complete stranger who is encouraging you to speak your mind with the promise of confidentiality. You might be shocked by how freely words start flowing out of your mouth (or tears out of your eyes). Go with it. Crying is good and healing in and of itself; there is research to prove it!
Or, you might be tempted to shut down like a clam.
That’s okay, too. Our job is to figure out what key unlocks you. As long as you are showing up and willing to work, you will eventually get to a place where talking about yourself is easier. Don’t give up!
You might leave your session with unfinished business.
Talk therapy isn’t a quick fix. And as noted earlier, a 53-60-minute session can only cover so much. Think of each therapy session as a chapter in a book, not a book in a series. There are countless times where clients will hit a major revelation in the last few minutes of a session. At first, this can feel really frustrating for both you and your provider—you just had a breakthrough, and you want to keep talking! But, it’s actually nice to take some time and simmer on the breakthrough. Then, you can come back in the next session ready to really dive deeply into it with your provider.
You might be exhausted afterward.
Therapy can be draining. Of course, the sessions where you are able to get all the bottled up tears/emotions out are more draining than the others, but talking through emotional topics for nearly 60 straight minutes is hard work. Plan accordingly. We wouldn’t recommend scheduling a big presentation for work right after your session.
You might get homework.
Since your time is limited, your provider may not be able to get to all the work you might need. You could see the therapy session as “in class” time and followed up with some powerful, self-growth homework activity afterwards. Sometimes this homework can be very academic (“read these two chapters on anxiety management techniques“) and sometimes it can be uncomfortable therapeutic work (“spend 5 minutes a day saying something kind to yourself in a mirror”). Don’t skip this part!
It might get worse before it gets better.
This is maybe the scariest, but most important, thing to know about starting therapy: it might get worse before it gets better. You have to knock a hole in the wall so light can stream in, and those first few sessions of demolition can be rough. It’s just a fact of talk therapy. You are going to build something better than you could have ever dreamed, but before you do that, the dirty work has to happen. As therapy goes on, there will be fewer tears, less questioning, and more confidence, we promise. Just hold on.
We know insurance terms and policies can confuse most people. Here is a great article that explains some of the most common terms and concepts! What does it all mean? A useful list to explain the toughest insurance terms
Basically, those letters are just identifiers to let you know what kind of education, license, and certifications a therapist has. The most common initials you may come across are:
LCMHC: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
LCMHCA: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (under supervision)
LCMHCS: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor
LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LCSWA: Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (under supervision)
LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
NCC: National Certified Counselor
CCMHC: Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor
At this time, Peaceful Waters is able to offer HIPAA compliant and secure teletherapy sessions. These can be conducted from the comfort of your own home. However, Skype, phone, and email for therapy use is not HIPAA compliant and therefore not an ethical way to conduct your sessions. At Peaceful Waters, our clients' privacy and confidentiality is a top priority.
No way! Therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Some therapy can involve homework, such as tracking your moods, writing about your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past. You will be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn new ways to react to events or people. At Peaceful Waters, we aim to help you cope with feelings, problem solve, and change behavior patterns that may contribute to your symptoms.
As trained mental health professionals, we assume there will always be SOMETHING our client doesn’t want to tell us. We get it. Sharing the inner most workings of your life is hard. However, we offer a judgment-free and safe therapeutic space. So, the answer is YES. Please tell your provider everything, as you feel comfortable. That is when the best work happens.
We specialize in a wide range of psychotherapy services, such as:
- Anger Management
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Behavioral Issues
- Career Issues
- Conduct Disorders
- Divorce/Separation Issues in Children
- Domestic Violence
- Educational Issues
- Elimination Disorders in Children/Adolescents
- Family Discord
- Financial Distress
- Gender Dysphoria
- Incarceration Issues
- Life Coaching
- Marital/Relationship Issues
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Parenting Issues
- Physical Abuse
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Premarital Counseling
- Psychological Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Orientation Issues
- Sibling Relational Problem
- Social Skills/Relationships
- Spiritual Issues
- Suicidal Ideations
Psychotherapists are not licensed to prescribe medication. However, we often can detect the need for medicinal intervention and will refer clients to providers able to assist them in that process of their treatment.
Although the process works best if both partners participate, troubled marriages can benefit even if just one spouse seeks help. In order for couples therapy alone to work, there are some ground rules. The relationship must be basically sound—no lying, cheating or abuse. Your therapist will focus on the relationship, not the individual. And the partner who doesn't come to therapy must still want to improve the marriage and should be informed about what goes on.
Whether in couples therapy alone or with a spouse, everyone must recognize that they won't be able to change the other person, only themselves. When couples counseling is conducted, each partner will be challenged to recognize his or her own role in creating the conflict. Rather than griping, the focus will be on problems that can be solved.
P.S. Your provider does NOT choose sides!
Even the best therapist in the world gets only a snapshot of a child’s behavior and mood in 53-60 minutes a week. To round out the picture, we aim to set time aside for regular check-ins with the child's caretaker. How are anxiety management skills translating from therapy to playground? How is your child responding to their medication? Do you see signs of your teenager's depression worsening? Was there a major meltdown your child may not have mentioned in therapy? Parent feedback provides a richer and more accurate picture of a child’s needs.
Whether or not parents sit in on sessions depends on the age of the child and the nature of the treatment. However, we do expect that parents/guardians are still the coaches, the ones who drive treatment at home. The takeaway: For your child to get the most out of treatment, you’ll need to monitor your child closely, know which skills are being worked on and how to reinforce them outside the office in everyday life.
Your child's provider may provide background reading material, online resources, education, and/or offer parent support groups. You can also ask to meet for a full session without the child present. These collaborative sessions may also be covered by insurance, allowing you to discuss issues and care in greater depth.
We understand that parents can be desperately in need of support but sometimes lack adequate childcare. While we encourage you to attend your sessions alone, we know that this may not always be feasible. Therefore, we do make exceptions. We believe it is better in some cases to have a session with your child there, than have no session at all.
As for age limits, if the child is at full capacity for understanding language, then it would not be wise for them to be privy to their parents’ therapy session, particularly if emotions are high. Children can absorb negative energy and emotion if they sense their parent(s) are distressed. However, tone over topic can sometimes protect against this and we insist on being very mindful around young children in a session.
If therapy was only about paying someone to let you vent or chat with them, it would be a waste of money. But conversation is only the surface layer of therapy, and the conversations you have with a therapist will be a far cry from anything you’ll experience with a friend. Here are some aspects of therapy that provide long-term value and go beyond the kind of chatting you could do with a friend:
- Learning how to better manage emotions
- Challenging negative beliefs that negatively affect your life
- Learning new perspectives on situations and people
- Learning how to improve good relationships and avoid toxic ones
- Identifying negative and positive behaviors, decisions and patterns
- Understanding how your past is affecting the present
- Reducing symptoms of mental illness
- Preventing the development of mental illnesses
- Learning therapeutic techniques such as breathing techniques and/or progressive muscle relaxation
- Learning to be more authentic and understand who you are
Therapists are professionally trained through accredited schools of psychology and counseling and complete a required number of supervised hours in a clinical environment. Additionally, professional counselors pass one or more examinations required by the state in which they practice providing competent and effective therapy.
Therapists are not your friend and that can be a good thing! Some of the reasoning behind this is that unlike what you would typically find with friends, with therapists, you as the client can be more open with therapists there is no need to fear being judged. Therapists have no emotional stake in the situation, so they can provide unbiased guidance. Our therapists will also keep the relationship professional rather than becoming attached in a way that could negatively affect the quality of treatment.
Friends don’t want to judge, but it’s hard for them to resist. They haven’t spent years training to refrain from judgment. If you share something intense, even a sensitive friend might react in a way that hurts your feelings.
It is also common to find that friends become attached to you. They sometimes want to be on your side, even if that means missing the opportunity to help. Friends are supposed to listen and provide emotional support, but you might feel guilty if you vent to them for an hour or more every week. They’re not being compensated for that time, and they might need to shift their schedule so they can chat for so long. Then there’s the guilt you might feel about laying complex problems and emotions on someone who doesn’t have the training to handle it. Because friends don’t have the skills therapists do, listening to intense issues and trying to help might be stressful for them.
With a therapist, you are paying him or her to listen and help you. The hour belongs to you!
The reality is that most therapists are not able to see 40 clients per week. That would mean 40 hours of face time every week, plus paperwork, creating treatment plans, returning phone calls, preparing for sessions, and all the other things your provider is required to do by law.
Consider where your money actually goes when you make an investment in self-improvement. There are rent and utilities for the office space, which are a market all to themselves. Our office also employs the extra effort to make the space comfortable and relaxing, and there are expenses for those amenities.
Your provider stays abreast on the latest research and information you may need. Aside from the minimum required continuing education hours, there are seminars, workshops, webinars, books, and journals that provide the ongoing knowledge and practice needed to stay sharp and effective in helping others make positive changes in their life. Your provider also provides supplies and/or resources to utilize in therapy (i.e. colored pencils, fidget toys, sand trays, books, etc.).
Think back to how you found your therapist. Perhaps you heard from a friend or family member how amazing their therapist had been for them and decided to make that call for yourself. Maybe you searched the Internet to find a website or Psychology Today listing. These also come at a cost.
Let’s talk education. Unless you are meeting with Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon, your therapist had to be trained somewhere — ideally, an accredited graduate school. Post-secondary education is an expensive endeavor. It is also one of the most necessary endeavors in a growing, competitive job market. Approximately 70 percent of Americans borrow money via student loans to pay for college or graduate school (US News.com, 2014), and spend up to 10 or more years paying them off.
In summary, the hourly rate for your therapist has to cover quite a bit. What’s left over from the above-mentioned necessities goes toward paying personal and family expenses and the occasional leisure activity. The helping profession can be quite exhausting. Like you, your provider needs amenities for unwinding, recharging, and coping with life’s difficulties.
We encourage you to do some of your own research to feel confident about your financial investment in therapy, if you'd like. We are confident you will not find a group of professionals like us that offer high quality services at a competitive rate.
What makes our therapists so special? Years and years of refining our skills and expertise, with a lot of unconditional compassion. Trust us, your sessions will be worth every penny.
1. What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. This psychotherapy has been shown, through the success of numerous EMDR therapy studies, to help individuals lessen the distress they have linked to prior traumas. There are eight phases of EMDR:
History and Treatment Planning.
Your therapist will learn about your background and develop a treatment plan specific to you.
You will be introduced to the process of EMDR.
Your therapist will ask you to think about the traumatic event - the image, feeling, and impact of it on your body.
Your therapist will work with your eye movements while you recall the traumatizing event. You will continue this process until the event is less distressing to you.
You will work with your therapist to increase the newly formed positive thoughts that you have attached to the formerly traumatizing event.
As you recall the event, your therapist will guide you in a scan to identify whether or not there are lingering physiological responses to the traumatic event.
This phase will help prepare you for the upcoming week. Your therapist may ask you to keep track of any experiences or feelings you have that is related to your treatment.
This occurs at the beginning of the following session. Your therapist will ask how your week went and will help you process any feelings or occurrences that came up during or after your last session.
2. Is it safe?
EMDR is considered a safe and effective therapy under a licensed professional. However, with any therapy or treatment, there are possible side effects that could occur during or after. The potential side effects of EMDR are listed below under question 6.
3. How many sessions of EMDR should I expect to find relief?
Every client responds differently to EMDR. Some find relief after one session, while others find relief after the 12th. Typically clients find relief anywhere between the 6th and 12th session.
4. Is it similar to hypnosis?
EMDR is similar to hypnosis in that it works directly with the unconscious mind. However, it is important to note that unlike hypnosis clients are awake and have full awareness at all times.
5. What disorders/symptoms does EMDR help with?
Essentially any symptom or disorder where the onset is due to trauma. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Distressing memories
- Body dysmorphia
6. What are the potential side effects?
As with any form of psychotherapy, there may be a temporary increase in distress.
-Distressing and unresolved memories may emerge.
-Some clients may experience reactions during a treatment session that neither they nor the administering clinician may have anticipated, including a high level of emotion or physical sensations.
-Subsequent to the treatment session, the processing of incidents/material may continue, and other dreams, memories feelings, etc., may emerge.
1. What are essential oils?
Essential oils are aromatic, concentrated plant extracts that are carefully obtained through steam distillation, cold pressing, or resin tapping. We offer essential oils, blends, and oil-infused products with the optimal levels of specific, naturally occurring essential oil constituents to maximize their potency.
2. How do essential oils work?
Essential oils are typically inhaled or absorbed through the skin. The essential oils reach the limbic system, which impact emotion and mood. Therefore, essential oils are known to positively impact emotion and mood of those using them. Essential oils have also been known to positively impact physical wellness by improving sleep habits, breathing, blood pressure, etc.
3. What are the benefits of using essential oils?
Essential oils bring numerous benefits to its users. Some common benefits from general essential oil use include reduction of anxiety, stress, depression, nausea, headaches, acne, and inflammation. Essential oils are also known to positively improve energy and mood. It is important to note that the different types of essential oils are used to treat different symptoms. For example, lavender essential oils are used to reduce stress while peppermint essential oils are used to increase energy and improve digestion.
4. What are some commonly used essential oils?
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Lemon Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Frankincense Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Grape Fruit Essential Oil
- Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Chamomile Essential Oil
5. How long do essential oils last?
Essential oils commonly last anywhere between 2-15 years. The exact number of years each essential oil lasts depends on the specific type.
6. How should I store my essential oils?
Frequent users store their essential oils in a room temperature environment. It is suggested that they be stored in a refrigerator or freezer for those who do not use their oils frequently. Be sure to keep essential oils capped and away from flames, heat, and sunlight.