Professional Counseling Services
Beacon Center’s professional counseling services include individual and group counseling, as well as play therapy; specializing in treating trauma: including sexual, emotional, physical and mental abuse and promote healthy healing. with the goals of healing, personal growth and empowerment.
Domestic Violence Support Group
Our support group is designed to provide support and healing for trauma victims and survivors. Please visit us on Facebook for a list of group topics and schedule.
Please call Carrie or Patty for more information at 605-886-4304 or 1-800-660-8014.
Play Therapy provides therapeutic sessions that promote healing through creative play. Play therapy draws on the child’s innate abilities and strengths while accommodating non-verbal communication and thus fostering self-healing.
Learn More About Professional Counseling Services
What is professional counseling?
Counseling is a cooperative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.
Why see a counselor?
Personal counseling offers you the opportunity to talk about social, emotional, or behavioral problems that are either causing you distress or interfering with your ability to function from day to day. Our counselors are trained professional who can respond to your concerns in an objective and non-judgmental manner. The counseling relationship is unique in that it provides a safe setting for you to speak freely, knowing that what is shared will be kept private and confidential.
Potential Benefits of Counseling
The counseling process is, in many ways, like an educational experience. The individual can learn more about him/herself, but also acquires new skills. Sometimes counseling involves learning more about a particular condition (e.g., depression, anxiety, eating disorders) by which the person is affected, so that he/she can better understand treatment options. Below are some examples of what you can gain from personal counseling:
improved communication and interpersonal skills
greater self-acceptance and self-esteem
ability to change self-defeating behaviors/habits
better expression and management of emotions, including anger
relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
increased confidence and decision-making skills
ability to manage stress effectively
improved problem-solving and conflict resolution abilities
greater sense of self and purpose
recognition of distorted thinking
Potential Risks of Counseling
Generally, there’s little risk in having counseling. But because it can explore painful feelings and experiences, you may feel emotionally uncomfortable at times. Additionally, things may feel as though they are getting worse initially. However, any risks are minimized by working with a skilled counselor who can match the type and intensity of counseling with your needs.
Important people in your life may not support your decision to be in counseling. If you are concerned about other’s reactions, tell your counselor. Together you can discuss how and to whom you wish to disclose that you are in counseling.
You are strongly encouraged to discuss any fears, concerns, or doubts you may have with your counselor, including specific risks and benefits not listed here.
The coping skills and new insights that you learn can help you manage and conquer negative feelings and fears.
Counseling may not cure your condition or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can give you the power to cope in a healthy way and to feel better about yourself and your life.
Getting the most out of counseling
Take steps to get the most out of your counseling and help make it a success.
Make sure you feel comfortable with your counselor. If you don’t, look for another counselor with whom you feel more at ease.
Approach counseling as a partnership. Counseling is most effective when you’re an active participant and share in decision-making. Make sure you and your counselor agree about the major issues and how to tackle them. Together, you can set goals and measure progress over time.
Be open and honest. Success depends on willingness to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and to consider new insights, ideas and ways of doing things. If you’re reluctant to talk about certain issues because of painful emotions, embarrassment or fears about your counselor’s reaction, let your counselor know.
Stick to your treatment plan. If you feel down or lack motivation, it may be tempting to skip counseling sessions. Doing so can disrupt your progress. Try to attend all sessions and to give some thought to what you want to discuss.
Don’t expect instant results. Working on emotional issues can be painful and may require hard work. You may need several sessions before you begin to see improvement.
Do your homework between sessions. If your counselor asks you to document your thoughts in a journal or do other activities outside of your counseling sessions, follow through. These homework assignments can help you apply what you’ve learned in the therapy sessions to your life.
If counseling isn’t helping, talk to your counselor. If you don’t feel that you’re benefiting from counseling after several sessions, talk to your counselor about it. You and your counselor may decide to make some changes or try a different approach that may be more effective.
*Content derived from the Mayo Clinic
Common misconceptions about Counseling
Because you may not know someone who has received counseling, you might have some questions about what it's like. You may also have heard some things that just aren’t true. Here are some common misconceptions about counseling:
If I need help, something is wrong with me. I must be broken or abnormal. The effects of trauma can be overwhelming and lead to mental health issues. Just like with physical illness, mental health is a health problem. You wouldn’t say that someone who has cancer or the flu is broken or should just get over it.
No one will understand my problem. I don’t deserve help. Domestic and sexual violence is a common and widespread issue in our society and community. There are many people who are here to listen and help. You deserve to feel healthy and whole.
If I come in for an appointment, you will send me to the hospital. People are often concerned that if they disclose that they are contemplating suicide, they will be hospitalized or asked to take time off. While Beacon Center's highest priority is the health and safety of our clients, we understand that many people experience suicidal thoughts without ever acting on them. We work with clients to determine what will best address their needs, which often means jointly creating a plan to ensure their safety.
If I just try harder, I won’t need counseling. The consequences of trauma can’t be overcome by trying harder or ignoring the problem.
People will think less of me if I seek help. At Beacon Center, we work hard to combat this stigma every day.
Counseling is just a lot of talking; I can get the help I need from my friends. While a strong support system of friends and family is very important, there are things that we can help you with that your loved ones might not be able to. Our training and experience helps us know all the tricky ways that your experiences can trip you up and how to overcome your hurdles.
If I get treatment, I’ll have to keep going forever. Our goal is always to get you back into your “normal” functioning as quickly as possible. While some people may need long-term treatment, many individuals just need a few weeks or months to deal with their problem.
I can’t afford it. Beacon Center's professional counseling services are offered free of charge.
For more information contact
Counselor/Registered Play Therapist