Questions and Answers
Whether you've been in counseling before or not, you may have questions about services at Morning Light Counseling. These are the most common questions; click to see the answers.
If you have further questions, contact us for more information.
Morning Light Coaching exists to empower clients to change their lives for the better, to heal from the inside out. This is done by:
1) carefully assessing a client's current strengths, weaknesses, and needs;
2) providing training and resources to help clients learn new ways of thinking, behaving, and relating; and
3) providing guidance and support, as clients implement these changes in their lives and families.
Therapy at Morning Light Counseling is designed to build self-reliance - not dependence on medication, or on never-ending therapy sessions.
It is also designed to shore up spirituality, increase physical and mental wellness, and strengthen (not sever) family relationships.
At Morning Light Counseling, homework assignments are a core element in client transformation and progress. Rather than just providing one expensive hour per week, homework assignments give clients the opportunity to grow and progress every hour, every day of the week - and then to come back prepared to learn even more and get even stronger at their next session.
Your counselor will give you homework assignments at the end of every session, to guide your efforts at home during the time until the next session. Each new session will begin with an update on your homework, as a springboard into the next phase of growth and development.
If you have a busy week, and are unable to complete all the homework given, then just do what you can, and that will be enough to keep you moving in a positive direction, in and out of your scheduled therapy sessions.
Three months is generally a good starting estimate for how long it takes to get some positive change going in your life. For many people, that will be sufficient to meet their needs and achieve their goals.
Some issues and circumstances, of course, will take longer to heal. In particular, these include: chronic depression, sexual addiction, or a history of abuse or other trauma.
Length and effectiveness of treatment also depends on how thoroughly you implement suggestions given - completing assigned homework, and practicing the skills and insights discussed in your sessions.
It's very much like music lessons - you'll get vastly more benefit from the experience if you are practicing your new skills daily, rather than just passively attending each new session.
Most often, counseling will start with sessions once a week, to complete assessment, and to get you going with some new skills. Once you are functioning better with what you have learned, therapy sessions can be scheduled farther apart - for example: every other week, then every two weeks, then monthly, then every six weeks for follow-up.
An assessment (otherwise known as an "intake" or "initial consultation") is the first step in the therapy process. You'll meet your counselor, provide payment info, and share background on what your needs are, and why you decided to seek a counselor's assistance. An assessment It is a needed information-gathering session, to help you clarify issues, establish goals, and set overall vision for what you want to accomplish in therapy.
With simple one-problem situations, one intake session is often enough to get started. With more complex situations, you may feel that that first hour is tiny drop in a huge bucket, and more sessions may be needed to get everything communicated to your counselor. It's normal to talk a lot, feel a lot, and even cry a lot in this early phase. The Kleenex box next to the client couch is typically a pretty popular feature in those early sessions!
Be aware that this early assessment phase is only the beginning of your healing journey. Treatment and change follow assessment, for it is impossible to effectively transform what you do not yet understand.
Your counselor will likely end your intake session by giving you homework assignments to get you started, and to gather more information. She may assign you to fill out forms or written assessments, begin cognitive / behavioral exercises, improve self-care, or read assigned materials, in preparation for your upcoming treatment sessions. This early assessment process provides the blueprint and lays the groundwork for the healing work ahead.
Counseling sessions are where the real work of change begins. With your assessment behind you, and your initial homework carried out, you are ready to dive into the heart of the healing process.
The content of each session will vary, based on your treatment goals, and what you are trying to accomplish in therapy. In general, you will be taught skills, given support to talk through current and past struggles, and given opportunities to explore new options, discover new coping skills, and develop new perspectives, to help shape a happier and more fulfilling life.
In general, the process of therapy can be described in 3 steps (the "IRA"):
Step 1, "Identify," begins with your assessment, and the other forms and written exercises your counselor asks you to complete within your first few sessions. It involves clarifying your existing strengths and weaknesses, needs and goals, patterns and stumbling blocks. Building clear awareness of these things - not just for your counselor, but for yourself - is the goal of this first stage of therapy.
Step 2, "Replace," is the active change portion of the therapy process. In this process, you actively identify a pattern you want to change, and you then learn skills and perspectives to help you change that pattern. You apply these new strategies in your life and family, to produce the desired change.
Step 3, "Assimilate," is the winding-down phase of therapy. In this phase, you continue to apply the new skills and insights you have learned, until they become natural and comfortable for you. Sessions are scheduled farther and farther apart during this phase, to give you time to "fly on your own," test what you have learned, and trouble-shoot and fine-tune strategies, if necessary, with your counselor's support.
Treatment ends when you are confident about your ability to maintain these new positive patterns independently, for the long haul. Your counselor will assign you reading materials and other resources to help shore you up, as you gain more and more strength to function on your own over time.
Carrie was trained in the Graduate School of Social Work, at the University of Utah, specializing in Family and Children. She received additional hands-on training through her internships at the Division of Family Services (State of Utah, Department of Human Services), and at Primary Children's Medical Center, in the Child Psychiatry unit.
After completing her training, Carrie worked under supervision for 2 years at ARTEC, through Valley Mental Health, working with troubled youth and teens, and receiving specialized training to work with sexually abused children.
At that point, Carrie began having children of her own, and moved to part-time work with LDS Family Services, where she worked for 17 years. She began here working with children and teens, particularly sexually abused youth. Over time, with further supervision and training there, she took on a wider and wider variety of cases, working with adults, couples, and families. She received extensive training in dealing with abuse, trauma, and dissociation. She began to specialize in cases involving depression, anxiety, grief, sexual addiction, and betrayal trauma.
As Carrie's family grew, she began teaching yearly at BYU Education Week and elsewhere, teaching classes on emotional wellness, depression recovery, and family relationships.
Carrie then took a full-time job as Program Development Director for a new agency, Beacon Family Mental Health. There, she received intensive specialized training in treating sexual addiction, and continued to see a wide variety of teen and adult clients.
Throughout her career, Carrie has also received extensive Continuing Education from masters in the counseling field, including David D. Burns (cognitive therapy), John Gottman (marriage and communication), and Bessel Van Der Olk (trauma recovery.)
In 2009, Carrie opened her private practice, Morning Light Counseling, where she has continued to serve a wide range of clients, drawing on the wealth of her prior training and experience. She continues to coach clients there, as well as reaching many others through her talks, classes, podcasts, written works, and videos.
Almost everyone feels that way, when they start counseling. It is not uncommon to feel broken, worthless, hopeless, and past repair, when you're distressed enough to seek professional help.
But those feelings can be replaced by confidence, strength, and joy, as you actively engage in the counseling process. Yes, you can be helped - both by your counselor, and by yourself, as you choose to apply what you learn, in this transformative healing journey.
Frequently-Asked Questions on:
Medication, payment, and how to begin therapy
Only a psychiatrist, medical doctor, or other medical professional can prescribe or manage medication. If you choose to include medication in your treatment, you will need to have those services provided elsewhere, since that is beyond the range of an LCSW'S licensure.
Fortunately, medication is a highly optional element in the healing process. Morning Light Counseling can assist with all your other non-medication needs, in the process of your emotional healing,
You're not alone. Many people choose to pursue emotional healing without medication - either because they tried it and disliked the side effects or found it unhelpful; or because they prefer to choose a more self-reliant course in their healing process.
Carrie's recommendation is as follows:
- If you're not currently on medication, don't start - there are many other things we can do, without negative side effects, to help you heal.
- And if you are already on medication, for now stay on it as prescribed, as you develop new resources and coping skills. You may eventually decide to taper off your meds, as you become emotionally stronger through counseling. But for now, stay consistent with your existing prescription.
Carrie never requires clients to begin medication, and is fully supportive of individuals' efforts to heal from within, without medication. There are so many other ways to stabilize mood and improve wellbeing - Carrie will be focusing on those other approaches, in her counseling sessions with you.
If it is helpful to you, and isn't causing any major side effects, stay on it for now. Use it as a buffer to help keep you steady as you learn new perspectives and coping skills in counseling.
Later, once your new skills are solid, you may wish to consider carefully tapering off your medication, under medical supervision. Withdrawal can be a rigorous process for some, so you want your other emotional tools solidly under your feet before you attempt it.
So for now, stay on your prescription, and invest your energy in learning new coping strategies.
If your bishop expresses and verifies his willingness to pay for your sessions (all or in part), your billing can definitely be sent to him for payment. You will need to sign a release of information for this to occur, and the bishop will need to specify the number of sessions he's willing to authorize, and the percentage (some or all) of the cost he's willing to pay for. You remain responsible for any unpaid balance.
Carrie worked for 17 years at LDS Family Services, and essentially manages bishop billing the same way they do; except that Morning Light Counseling bills bishops every week or two, rather than monthly.
Morning Light Counseling is a provider for Blue Cross, Humana, and Aetna, and can bill those companies directly, if your plan and coverage apply to our services.
Those with other insurance coverage can request receipts, invoices, or superbills after paying session fees upfront, to seek reimbursement directly from their insurance company. They can also use their HSA card for payment.
Easy. Just click on the blue button below, and it will take your directly to an Online Scheduler, which will walk you through the sign-up process.
Start Your Healing Journey Today!
Appointments can be set by phone or email contact, or directly through Morning Light Counseling's Online Appointment Scheduler. This convenient resource allows you to create, review, reschedule, or cancel your own appointments – day and night, wherever you have internet access.
Online counseling sessions, by Zoom or phone, are also available, for clients living outside the area, or who have health or timing concerns, making it difficult to come into the office. Simply specify which session format is best for you - in person, through Zoom, or by phone.
Joy Cometh In the Morning
Morning Light Counseling is designed to extend light and hope in the midst of stormy, perilous times.
While much is amiss in the world, there is also much to celebrate, much to rejoice in.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalms 30:5)