Hi there! First, thank you for visiting my page and my blog. This means you are interested in therapy and what it could do for you. It takes a lot of bravery to be able to reach out for help. So if you are in the research phase of seeking help, I’m glad you are here! I’d love to answer some common questions for you.
First, let me start by introducing myself:
My name is Melissa Griffing and I am a licensed therapist. Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to work with kids and families. I distinctly remember a conversation with my mom when I was about 16, volunteering at a Saturday child-care program. I remember saying, “These kids are so great, and these parents care so much, everyone just needs a little help.” Little did I know that statement would lead me down a path to helping families become the best version of themselves.
I began working as a therapist in 2018 after graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Master’s in Counseling, specializing in play therapy, adolescent therapy, parent training, individual therapy for young adults, and perinatal therapy. I completed my undergrad at the University of Mississippi, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Elementary Education. My biggest passion in life is giving families the tools they need to feel confident, happy, and successful. I believe that you are the expert on your family and your child. I just happen to know a lot about child development, best parenting practices, and coping skills. Together, we will work vigorously to meet your family's individual needs to bring peace and joy back into your home.
When I am not at work, I am busy being a mom to my 3 sweet boys and am a proud military spouse. Together, we enjoy playing outside, swimming, watching movies, and traveling as much as we can. I am also currently working on my Ph.D. in Counseling so if I'm not with my family or at work, I am buried in a textbook or working on a paper. My husband and I both grew up in Dallas and we just love this area. We love being able to show our kids all the fun activities Dallas has to offer.
I want to take this time now to answer some questions you might have about therapy as well as the process of getting started. Here are 9 common questions I have been asked over the years:
Why go to therapy?
There are lots of reasons to go to therapy. Maybe you are struggling with a life transition or you’ve experienced a stressful event. Sometimes, however, the reason isn’t quite so obvious. You might be feeling depressed or anxious without seeing a clear reason why. You probably say to yourself, “I can’t figure out why I feel so sad. My life is great! There is no reason for me to feel this way.” Whatever the reason is, therapy is a great place to start. Therapists are trained in helping you ask yourself the right questions to help you feel your best.
How do I choose the right therapist?
There are so many of us out there! Mental health is such a broad subject, therefore not every therapist may be best suited to help you. This is because we find niches and specialize in them. For example, I specialize in working with the family but not in addiction. So, I would not be an appropriate therapist for someone who needs help with that specific area. Ask yourself, “Why am I thinking about going to therapy?” Then, search for a therapist who specializes in that topic. Personality is also an important factor. After all, we are all people and as people, not everyone gets along with everyone. So make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist.
How long are counseling sessions?
This depends. Most sessions are 45-50 minutes. However, if there is a family session or multiple people are involved, sessions can be up to an hour and a half. A good therapist will communicate this to you beforehand.
What is a counseling intake appointment?
The intake appointment is an important first step in establishing a therapeutic relationship. It allows you to describe your situation more in detail and for your counselor to ask important questions to determine the best course of action. If you are scheduling for your child, the intake appointment will be a parents-only session.
What will we talk about?
Whatever you want! I usually start each session by asking if there is anything specific on your mind that you want to talk about. I believe that clients will bring up what they need to discuss or explore when they are ready in each session. Therapy moves at your pace.
What should I do if I don’t want to talk about something?
Let me know. If we have ventured into an area that you are not ready to talk about, just tell me. As I said, therapy moves at your pace. You need to feel comfortable talking about a subject before you can start to heal or make changes.
What should I do if my therapist upsets me?
Tell me. It won’t hurt my feelings. My job is to provide an environment that feels open, warm, nonjudgmental, and accepting to you. If I have said something that hurts your feelings or makes you feel uncomfortable, which happens sometimes because we are all human, then let me know so I can make adjustments for the future. Communication is key.
What happens if a teen becomes a legal adult while undergoing therapy?
I often work with teens that become legal adults. When that happens, I must obtain releases of information, permitting me to continue communicating with their parents. Since I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, I continue working with that client until therapeutic goals have been reached. There is no need to change therapists just because of age. Occasionally, therapeutic goals change to a category I do not specialize in. When that happens, I offer referrals and do my best to make sure my clients are in good hands.
What if I have more questions?
Reach out to me. If you are just starting your therapeutic journey, I would love to be a source of information for you. Even if we aren’t a fit for each other, let me help you start your journey with correct information. It is my job to educate people on their rights and the process of therapy. I want people to leave feeling confident in their ability to ask for help and be familiar with the overall process of therapy.