Safe + Sound Blog

What Happens When I Request Counseling Services?


First, there are several ways to be referred for counseling at Safe+Sound Somerset. If you or your family members have experienced domestic abuse, you can call or text our 24/7 hotline at 866-685-1122 to be referred for counseling. If you are a client of S+SS in another program, you can also be referred for counseling by the staff with whom you are working.

Initial Phone Call

After receiving a referral for counseling, our clinical staff will reach out to you. During this initial phone call, our clinicians will discuss our process in light of our new COVID-19 world:

  1. Emergency Safety Plan– When safety planning with the clinician, you will be asked a few questions to get an idea of how to safely provide services. This may include, but is not limited to, where and how you will be conducting services, what your current living situation looks like, and some tips on how to be safe using the technology.
  2. Technology and Electronic Platform– The clinician will explain that we will be using RingCentral platform for all tele-counseling services. You will electronically sign your forms via Jotform. Both of these platforms have a robust encryption which adds layers of security and confidentiality for communications.

After this step, the counselor will schedule an intake assessment with you.

Intake Session

The intake session will be held through RingCentral, which gives you an option of having your session audio only or video. During the intake:

  1. The clinical will be reviewing all intake consent forms that have been signed by you prior to the intake session.
  2. Review your demographics and past/current treatment/medication.
  3. Discuss your domestic violence history as your current stressors.
  4. Identify goals for treatment

All information you share is confidential with the exception of mandated reporting requirements. This means our staff are required by law to report any child abuse or neglect, elder abuse or neglect, abuse or neglect of an individual with a disability, or suicidal or homicidal ideation to the appropriate authorities.

After your intake session, your clinician will review the intake with his or her supervisor. We assess whether S+SS can best meet your needs for counseling and collaborate on a treatment recommendation based on your personalized goals and current struggles. You will then be assigned to a clinician that can best serve you. There are several different types of treatments that S+SS has to offer for adults and youth.

Counseling Modalities for Adults

  1. Traditional: This treatment lets you to collaborate with your clinician to shape your sessions based on your individual goals. The clinician uses their own personal techniques and skills to help you heal as a survivor of domestic abuse. Many different topics of domestic violence can be discussed in this type of treatment.
  2. Individual Supportive Education: This therapeutic approach helps you gain new insights and knowledge surrounding domestic abuse with the goal of preventing future abuse. Each week you will discuss a new topic such as power and control, boundaries, warnings sign, healthy relationships, and many other topics.
  3. Group: There are three different groups offered by S+SS. The Supportive Education group takes the education materials with the support of other survivors of domestic violence. Next, you then transition to Therapy Group that dives deeper into the Cognitive Behavioral Model, where you will learn how to reframe your negative thoughts and move towards building positive self-beliefs. Finally, the Empowerment Group provides you with skills and resources that will help you in the next chapter of your life outside of S+SS.
  4. Prolonged Exposure (PE): Your clinician may offer this type of treatment if you are having a difficult time coping with a traumatic experience that meets criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PE helps you overcome the fear, anxiety, and stress related to your traumatic experience. This occurs by learning skills to gradually confront difficult and avoided situations, as well as thoughts and feelings both in session and in your day to day life. Successful completion of PE leads to feelings of courage and self-esteem, and a fast alleviation of difficult trauma symptoms.
  5. EMDR: EMDR is an evidence-based treatment designed to help individuals who have experienced trauma, such as victims of domestic violence, overcome their fear, anxiety, and stress as it relates to these experiences. EMDR relies on the empowering belief that with guidance by an EMDR trained clinician the client’s brain can heal itself. This process occurs by activating your problem-solving process with bilateral stimulation, something that happens during REM/dream sleep.

Please note: S+SS offers short term counseling, where treatment is typically completed within 12 sessions.

Counseling for Children and Adolescents

If you are looking for counseling for your young or adolescent children, the process looks very similar to that for adults. A referral will be made to us, we will call you and complete all the initial steps with you (Emergency Safety Planning and RingCentral) and then an intake will be conducted with you and then with your child.

We currently offer two different types of treatment for children:

  1. Traditional: We focus on different components with your child based off your and your child’s goals for treatment. Typically, we focus on educating them about domestic violence, identifying and modifying feelings and behaviors, relaxation skills, and boundaries.
  2. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): This type of treatment is specifically for children who are experiencing significant difficulties after a traumatic event has occurred and showing symptoms of PTSD. During this treatment, components of traditional counseling are incorporated, plus other skills specific to coping with the symptoms of PTSD. This treatment also focuses directly on the traumatic event that they have experienced. 

To request a referral for counseling or if you would like more information about our counseling services, contact our 24/7 call and text hotline at 866-685-1122. Additional information about Safe+Sound Somerset and our services is also available at www.safe-sound.org.