What to Expect from Individual Counseling
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be given a Counselor/Client contract to complete which will explain what to expect out of counseling including risks and benefits. Any other forms presented for you to complete can be given back to the receptionist.
After you have completed the paperwork, you will proceed to the counselor’s office with whom you will speak. At this time the counselor will complete the counseling intake which gathers information about the client’s family history.
If you are completing an intake for your child please do not bring the child or any other children with you. The information we share is sensitive and a child does not need to be exposed to things we discuss. Also, children are not allowed to be left unattended while you are receiving any of our services.
If you are considering group therapy, a screening appointment will be arranged with the counselor who leads the group. This is an opportunity for you to meet the group counselor, to learn more about the group, and to decide if it is the right ‘fit’ for you.
Getting Started in Counseling
Typically, you will meet with your counselor for a 45-minute session every week. If you are seeking counseling for your child the session will usually run about 30 minutes. We ask that you stay on the premises in case of an emergency. You and your counselor will decide each session the time and day for your next appointment. This is to allow you the most flexibility in your schedule. Your appointment will generally begin “on the hour,” between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., depending on which counselor you meet with. We have several counselors with different schedules which will be discussed with you prior to your counseling appointment. Early on, you will work with the counselor to set goals and approximate number of sessions. How many sessions will be decided between you and your counselor. If you have any questions or concerns about the counseling process itself (e.g., feeling “stuck” or lacking direction), your counselor will be pleased to discuss them with you. If you are not comfortable with the counselor or just don’t “click” then another counselor can be provided for you?
At first, you may feel a little nervous about counseling, but this usually fades as your counselor helps you talk about your concerns. There is likely to be some balance between talking about your present-day experiences and adjustments, and discussing the roots of your concerns in your family or experiences growing up. The more you share your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your problems in counseling, the more you are likely to benefit. Your counselor will help create a safe place for you to explore alternative points of view and to understand connections between different aspects of your experiences. The exact focus and balance of your counseling experience will depend on the issues you bring into therapy, your counselor’s perspective, and the goals you set for your work together.
* adapted from the George Washington University Counseling Center