What is the difference between therapy and counseling?

The terms “counseling” and “therapy” are often used interchangeably, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing. Counseling is the process of collecting information and giving support and advice. It tends to focus more on coping with or solving immediate problems, or adjusting to difficult transitions such as enrolling in or graduating from college, going through a divorce, transitioning to parenthood, losing one’s job, or dealing with peer, family, or workplace conflict. In other words, counseling is geared more toward situational problems.

Therapy, on the other hand, is geared toward solving more personal problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, compulsive eating, trauma reactions such as PTSD, self-esteem and confidence, and so on. Therapy tends to require more knowledge and intensive training on the part of the psychologists, counselors and social workers who administer it. Therapy is much less advice-based than is counseling, and it involves more advanced and effective techniques such as cognitive restructuring (questioning and reframing maladaptive thoughts), exposure therapy (for phobias and OCD), behavior activation [link] (for depression).

While Psychologists’ training is primarily therapy-focused and Counselors’ training is counseling-focused, both Rob (Psychologist) and John (Counselor) provide both therapy and counseling, depending on the situation that we are working with and the preferences of our clients. We both specialize in the problems that we treat so that you can be assured that we are up-to-date on the best treatment approaches available and you will receive the highest level of service. If you are not sure who would best match your needs, simply ask Cindy, our assistant in charge of scheduling, and she will arrange a phone consultation with Dr. Young. He will be happy to answer any questions you have.

What happens in therapy?

We will talk about whatever you want to talk about.  But the simple process of talking or “getting it out” is only a very small part of good therapy.  By discussing your concerns, we will work to better understand the causes of what is going wrong, and bring more attention to what is going right.  After about 1-3 sessions, I usually have a pretty good understanding of what the central focus of therapy should be, and at this point we will work together to form a plan of action.  As a psychologist, I cannot and do not prescribe medication and I do not administer any physical treatment, aside from helping you learn to breath more effectively and physically relax on your own.  By talking through problems, we will work together to identify thinking and behavior patterns that lead to and perpetuate anxiety and stress.  We will then use this knowledge to find more helpful ways of thinking and behaving (hence, “cognitive behavioral” therapy).  Some people might find it more useful to include activities that help them become more comfortable with that which makes them anxious.  Those people might choose to meet me in other places so that I can help them through gradual therapeutic exposures.  Feel free to call me and we can discuss how that might work for you.

Are therapy and counseling confidential?

Yes.  Virginia law and the rules of our professions prohibit us from revealing any information about you or what we discuss. Anything you say to us is completely confidential and will never be shared with anyone.  The only exception is if you give us written permission to do so, or to prevent serious danger to yourself or others, although we will not break confidentiality if you are an adult who is currently being abused.  Information is not shared with spouses or other family members without written consent from you.

How much do you charge?

Dr. Young’s fee is $140 for a 53-minute session.  John Snyder’s fee is $110 for a 53-minute session. This fee covers a full 60 minutes, as it includes additional time for preparation and note-taking.  Our therapists spend a considerable amount of time above and beyond this pursuing continuing education, attending professional conferences and trainings, and researching clients’ conditions and how to better treat them.

Do you accept insurance?

Dr. Young is in-network with Tricare. John Snyder is in-network with Tricare, Aetna, and Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield. In most cases, you will only be expected to cover a copay, the amount of which is dependent on your plan. We recommend calling your insurer before coming in to find out your copay and deductible, if any.

If our therapists are not considered in-network with your insurance company, we recommend checking your out-of-network benefits to find out how much of our fee might be covered. Companies such as United and Cigna often have very good out-of-network benefits so we highly recommend checking. We do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, and they will not reimburse you for any portion of the fee. Anthem Healthkeepers Plus is a Medicaid plan, so we cannot accept it.

How long will therapy take?

This depends on the nature of your concerns and a number of other factors.  Marriage counseling and treatment of problems related to sexuality can range widely in duration as some couples problems are very minor, while others are experiencing very severe, long-standing problems such as those involving repeated infidelity.

Therapy for anxiety commonly lasts between 8 and 20 sessions, but can be slightly shorter or can last considerably longer for very complex problems.  However, some problems appear to be more complex than they are, so you should never assume that therapy will go on for too long.  For example, people who suffer from panic attacks frequently believe that the attacks will never end.  But panic attacks are actually one of the most treatable problems that psychologist work with, and they can often be cured in as little as 6-12 sessions.

You can read more about our approaches by exploring the menu bar at the top of this website.

How much does a taxi ride from the corner cost?

The College Cab Taxi Service (434) 327-9153 will pick you up and drop you off at the Dunkin Donuts at the corner.  The ride to our office costs $6 each way (2.8 miles).

Additional Questions

We are always searching for ways to improve our level of service.  If you have a question that is not addressed on this page, please help us out and send questions or comments through our contact form so that we can address them on this FAQ page.