We begin with what brought you to counseling. If you’ve been exploring the option of counseling for a long time, what happened to tip you over the edge and make the call? Clearly you want to feel better. Better about what? And most importantly, what is your motive?
It has been proposed that 80% of one’s success in counseling is based on the relationship we build. This is why a 20-minute conversation is the first step. We talk to decide if what we say to one another feels like we could create a good basis for a counseling relationship. It’s important that we respect one another and feel as if we can trust each other and build on that trust. Perhaps it’s intuition, but somehow you’ll know. Do I connect with everyone who calls? No. I connect with about 80% of the people who call. Some people who call don’t feel a good connection with me or I don’t feel that a person is entirely sincere in his/her commitment to feeling better and I invite them to call again once they’ve explored their situation so they don’t enter therapy with hesitation, doubt, or misgivings.
Counseling is an opportunity to get some things off your chest and explain situations that you find yourself mired in. However, after explaining and complaining, it’s time to get to work. This can happen as fast or as slow as you need it. I need to make clear that counseling is not a process of week after week going to someone in order to complain about your circumstances. Nor is it a time when you can expect your counselor to be a social worker. We can often provide some places to go for other types of services but we usually are not social workers and don’t often have the connections to find you a new home, or provide you a lawyer. We will always do our best to get you the resources you need but as counselors our primary job is emotional support which is guided by your needs and requests.
The first session requires a bit of paperwork but much of it can be done ahead of time if you’ll download the documents and read them. If you’re an internet client your paperwork will need to be done 100% before we can meet. More about that in our 20-min phone call and the email that you’ll receive.
After that, each session is guided by where you feel you need to go and what you need. That is also informed by what I’m observing in therapy, what I’m hoping you’ll notice in yourself and perhaps aided by some “homework” in the way of suggestions about what to pay attention to, how you observe yourself in your world, etc.
It’s a wonderful growth process and a time where I’m gifted with the most wonderful opportunity to work with people like you who want to feel better. It is an honor to work with you. Please let me know when you would like to have our 20-min talk. I look forward to it!