- What is counseling?
- Who comes to counseling?
- Do you deal with other issues than what’s listed above?
- What to expect?
- Being nervous & embarrased
What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative effort between you and I. Throughout our work together I may ask questions that may help identify and clarify your values and that may help identify certain dynamics or patterns in relationships. I will also ask questions that may assist in seeing different perspectives of a situation.
Also, at times, I may provide relevant psycho-educational materials that may be relevant and may assist with your particular situation.
Counseling is a great tool for increasing our awareness; something that takes continuous discipline and something we can all improve at. And awareness is a very important step in having more control in our lives.
What counseling is not
Counseling is not a time for me to impose my values onto you. I’m hardly qualified to make decisions in my own life; I’m not qualified to make decisions for you or to know what’s best for you.
Counseling is not about me giving you advice or me telling you what’s best.
Who comes to counseling?
I find people come see me for one of three reasons:
- There are no major challenges. The person is looking for a sounding board on a particular area of their life.
- Day-to-day things are ok, however, the person is experiencing significant uncomfortable emotions.
- Functioning day-to-day is a challenge and solving the issue doesn’t seem possible.
Even though clients may have trusted friends and family, often times opening up to them doesn’t make sense or doesn’t help.
No matter how supportive our social networks, it’s common that our concerns and worries are met with advice. For the advice-giver, this makes complete sense: “I see a loved one in pain and I want to help them.” For the receiver, however, advice isn’t helpful.
Advice can feel more self-serving to the person giving it than for the person receiving it. Often times we’ve already considered the advice or have already tried it.
But, more importantly, when we share concerns, we’re mostly looking for connection and understanding. Advice does the opposite of that.
It’s also not uncommon that our social networks don’t understand our challenges. We are hesitant to share with them certain aspects of ourselves because it’s likely we may be judged or rejected.
People come to counseling because they’re looking for someone who will listen, understand them, and accept them completely. And this is the environment I strive to create.
What to expect during our first few sessions
Our first few sessions will be a time for me to understand your concerns, challenges, and goals. It’s a time for us to see if you’re a good fit for one another.
If we decide we’re not a good fit, I can help you find another therapist who can assist you better than I can.
Being nervous or embarrassed for coming to counseling
Being hesitant and nervous about coming to counseling is very normal. I’m a stranger you don’t know yet.
Here are some things to consider:
- Confidentiality – I take confidentiality very serious and cover my limits to it at the beginning of our first session. If for whatever reason you’re nervous for someone seeing walk into the counseling office, online options are available or let me know. I can try to make arrangements to make it less likely you’ll cross paths with someone else.
- Take things slow – You never have to talk about anything you don’t want to. I encourage clients to take things at their own pace. Leaving a session feeling too vulnerable is not helpful.