What should I expect in the first session?

The main focus of the first session is to get to know each other and identify goals.  We will go over some of the important things to know about counseling including confidentiality, office policies and how I work.  We will also talk about what has brought you in, and what you hope to achieve in our work together.  We will talk about the background to what brings you in, and address any questions or concerns you have. Remember that in any session, at any point in therapy, you can always ask questions, and I encourage you to do so.  I encourage you to provide me with feedback and will often ask you what you feel is going well in your counseling and if you have any concerns.

 

Who sets the goals for me?

I believe counseling is a team approach.  No matter how well we know each other, you will always be the expert on your life, not me.  My job is to help you find new skills, let go of past issues that may be affecting what's going on in the present, and to help you find the inner and outer resources that you need to achieve your goals.  My job is to support and guide you, but not to make decisions for you or tell you what to do.  Also remember, that goals can change at any time needed.

 

What if I am Christian?

I love to work with people from a Christian perspective. This can or can not be part of the approach that we take in counseling.  It is entirely up to you.  Remember however, that although we can incorporate Christian beliefs into our sessions, I am not in any way affliated with a certain church, and am not a pastoral counselor. I would be happy to further discuss with you how this works.

 

I have some thoughts about how things are going in counseling....should I tell her?

YES! This is a collaborative process. You are the expert on you.  At any time if you have concerns, don't feel like the approach we are taking is working, or would like to change focus, talk to me. I am very open to feedback that you have.  This is your process and I want you to get out of it everything that you came in for!

 

I've gone to counseling, but it seems like things are getting worse.  I thought counseling was supposed to make things better?

 

True, in the end (hopefully), things will get better.  The truth is, the counseling process often takes time.  The length of time depends on the dynamics and severity of the issues.  This is especially true for couples counseling. It is often times the case that things may get rougher before they get better.  Change is hard.  Often change is uncomfortable.  The human brain likes the status quo, even if the status quo isn't that great. I encourage you to discuss your concerns with me.  I can help you figure out other approaches to take, or validate for you that you are making progress, even though it may be difficult to see or feel right now.  Together we can examine your feels, what is going on, and create a plan for change.