It’s normal to be nervous or even overwhelmed while you make the decision to call a counselor and take the first step to getting help. Your willingness to explore this option and take the first step shows how brave you can be and how much you care about improving your life.
Sometimes all that’s holding us back from making the phone call is that we have no idea what to expect from the counseling experience, so we’re unsure if it will even help. Although each experience is different, here is a breakdown of what to expect when working with me:
Before You Contact Me
Maybe you haven’t been feeling good about your life, self or relationships. You feel stuck and you’ve tried many different ways to make it better.
You think you need help from a professional, but you feel nervous about reaching out to someone.
You do some research, maybe get advice from a trusted friend, and you decide to reach out to me.
When You Contact Me
You either hit send on the Contact Form or give me a call; maybe I don’t pick up and you leave a voicemail.
We find a time to connect on the phone or by email.
I ask some initial questions about what is going on and we talk about how I can help. I ask you if you have any questions for me.
You think “this is easier than I thought it would be.” You feel relieved.
We make our first appointment and you receive a confirmation email.
You wake up the day of the appointment. “Today is the day,” you think. Maybe you are nervous, excited, or scared. Maybe you are all of these things.
You make the drive to my office, park the car, walk through the glass doors of the building, and down the hallway. You find my office and enter the waiting room.
I come out and introduce myself. I’m smiling and I thank you for coming. I take you back to my office and you take a seat on the couch.
I spend the first few minutes reviewing the forms you completed and going over housekeeping items. We spend the next 45 minutes getting to know each other and I begin to learn more about you, your life, and how you have been feeling.
Some things are hard to talk about, but you notice a feeling of relief as you open up about what you are struggling with. You feel like I care about you and your experiences; you begin to trust that I can help you.
After the first 1-2 sessions, I have a better idea of who you are as a person and what is troubling you.
You have gotten clearer on where your real problems are and I get clear on how I’m going to help you. We collaborate on your treatment plan to be sure we are working toward your goals.
We each make a commitment: you to come regularly to counseling with a willingness to participate with honesty and openness; me to be respectful, compassionate and supportive of you while you work towards your goals.
Sometimes you leave feeling relieved and sometimes you leave feeling vulnerable because you shared something new.
I assure you this is part of the process and you notice with time that your situation is changing.
Discuss Conclusion of Therapy
You have reached your goals.
You feel confident that you will be okay without our weekly appointments and you discuss this me.
We talk about the progress you have made, any questions you have and your hopes for the future.
Say goodbye or goodbye for now
On our last appointment, we say goodbye or goodbye for now. I tell you that my door is always open. Your life feels different now. You are grateful that you put in the effort and opened up to new ways to be.
In this brief overview, I did not include sudden crises or changes that may interrupt the progress of your therapy such as a death in the family, loss of a job, or the decision to end a relationship. In these cases, your goals for therapy may change and I will do my best to support you with the changes.