Counseling – what it’s all about!
Counseling is about helping you have the life you want. We know that starting counseling is an important decision, and while you may feel good that you’re going to get some help, you may be somewhat nervous or may even be having second thoughts about it.
Our goals are to create an open and cooperative relationship with you so that you feel safe to talk about anything, and to help you resolve issues that interfere with your quality of life and functioning.
What to expect in your first session:
- You are required to full out paperwork prior to your first counseling session. It may seem like a distraction, especially when you’re nervous, but it protects your rights, gets your consent to engage in therapy and informs you about our policies.
- Your first appointment is different from any other. During that session the therapist will be asking you questions to help him or her understand you. You will be asked to talk about your life, including your family and friends, your problems or challenges, and what you believe impacts the situation.
The therapist will want to know about your problems, and how they affect you. For example, you might find that your problems cause issues at work or in relationships. It is important for the therapist to get a snapshot of your life. It will provide him or her the foundation for understanding your challenges and working with you in a productive manner toward achieving your goals.
- The therapist will save time for questions at the end of the session, but feel free to ask questions at any point.
- During your next appointments you will go deeper into identifying issues and their impact on your life and you will set some goals with your therapist to work toward.
- Counseling is a process of change where growth and healing take place. It is challenging work and can be emotionally difficult. By working with your therapist you aren’t alone.
What are the therapist’s responsibilities?
- Create a non-judgmental, safe and caring environment where you can explore feelings, behaviors and events that have happened in your life.
- Focus on and be an empathic listener as you share your life.
- Help you set and work toward your goals.
- Use their skills to provide support and guidance; teach new skills and coping strategies.
- Keep your best interests in mind and behave in an ethical manner.
What are your responsibilities?
- Be aware that counseling isn’t something that is done to you; it’s something that you participate in actively with your therapist – it’s a team effort. They can’t make your life decisions for you but they can be a knowledgeable guide and provide non-judgmental support to you as you work through your problems.
- Make your appointments a priority.
- Participate actively, talk openly and ask questions as needed.
- Do your “homework” and be willing to try and practice new behaviors even while experiencing them as difficult.
- Discuss your progress and let the therapist know if you think your goals need to be changed.