At the Water’s Edge: 3 Best Practices When the Tide is Rising

 In General Counseling

Deciding to see a counselor is a big step. Like the tide in the ocean, the events in our lives and the feelings and experiences that accompany them ebb and flow. It is our desire at Water’s Edge Counseling and Play Therapy to help you with the currents that are a part the tides of life. Following are 3 best practices to help you when the tide is rising and you need to reach out for a lifeline.


The American Counseling Association (ACA) defines counseling as “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” We want to help you identify goals and potential solutions, manage the accompanying emotions and promote behavior change to lead to optimal mental, physical and emotional health.

Check the counselor’s credentials. Ask about his/her experience and what issues the counselor has experience and training to treat. Check with friends and colleagues, search professional websites, and ask people that you trust. Identify the counselor’s professional qualifications. Does your counselor have any post-graduate training and if so in what areas? Does the counselor treat the issues that you have identified for your counseling goals?

The professionals at Water’s Edge work with individuals, families, couples, adolescents and children. Our professionals treat a variety of clinical issues including grief, depression, marital issues, anxiety, relationship issues, parent-child, family, addictions, career changes, life stages and many others. The counselors at Water’s Edge are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Registered Play Therapists (RPT) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). Counselors are licensed by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and are held to the ACA and AAMFT ethical codes. Social workers are licensed by the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board.

Relationship, relationship, relationship

When purchasing a home it is all about location. When choosing a counselor it is all about relationship. The effectiveness of counseling is impacted by the relationship that you have with your counselor. Counseling is a collaborative effort.

Here are some questions to consider when working with or choosing a counselor. Is your counselor listening? Do you feel heard and understood? Do you feel judged or unsafe? Does your counselor genuinely like you and want to help you? Trust is a key in the counseling relationship. Is your counselor trustworthy? Do you feel comfortable and free from judgment? Take your time to find a counselor who is well matched to your needs and wants. Trust your instincts.

Stay Informed

Talk with your counselor and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Has your counselor discussed confidentiality and the limits to confidentiality with you? Does your counselor respond openly and honestly to any questions that you may ask? Have you and the counselor spoken about your goals for counseling? Does the counselor know what you hope to achieve in counseling? Ask what you should expect in the counseling process. Ask about fees and insurance. Many counselors are insurance providers and can help you with the process of using your insurance.

It is often very difficult to share your most hurtful experiences.  Roadblocks and challenges are to be expected in the counseling process.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that “the lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.”  Stay informed. Talk with your counselor about any roadblocks or challenges you are experiencing. We are here to help.

Deciding to see a counselor is a big step. We hope you will let Water’s Edge Counseling and Play Therapy help you turn the tide in your life and meet your counseling needs.


Additional resources

American Counseling Association

America Association for Marriage and Family Therapists

Association for Play Therapy

Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling

Arkansas Social Workers Licensing Board

National Association of Social Workers

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