WHAT TO EXPECT
Reaching out for help for yourself or for your child can be intimidating, and it is very common to feel nervous or unsure about what the experience is like. Below are some answers to common questions people have about counseling.
What are some typical areas people work on in therapy?
Here's a list of services I provide.
What will we talk about?
The first session or two we will get to know each other. We will most likely discuss your current family situation, job, hobbies and interests, and other aspects of your life that are important to you. It's also common for clients to ask questions about my background and training, and I welcome questions about the counseling process that you may have. We will also discuss why you are seeking counseling at this time, what you would like help with, and, finally, we will go into your mental health history and previous treatment, if applicable.
After the first session or two, our sessions will be structured based on the goals we develop. They will generally consist of checking in about the last week or two, reviewing any homework, practicing skills or discussing roadblocks, discussing upcoming homework, and reviewing progress.
Do I need to bring anything with me for my first visit?
If you are seeking family therapy or services for your child, you will need to bring all parties that will be participating in counseling. All clients will need to bring their preferred method of payment to each session. For your initial session it saves time if you can print, review, and complete the Disclosure Statement and Financial Agreement and the Informed Consent forms. If you are unable or forget, I will have copies available for you to complete during our first session. Finally, if there are any important documents related to past mental health treatment that you would like me to review you may bring those as well.
What if I don't want to answer a question or feel uncomfortable?
One of your rights as a client is the right to refuse to answer a question. You may also decline to participate in homework assignments or any part of treatment if you feel uncomfortable. It is helpful to discuss what is making you uncomfortable and modify treatment accordingly.
How do I know you won't talk to anyone about what we discuss?
As a licensed therapist, I am legally and ethically bound to keep our conversations and all of your personal information confidential. There are exceptions to confidentiality which are outlined in my disclosure statement and which we will review during treatment.
How long does counseling last? When does counseling end?
The length of treatment will be different for every person and family based on their identified needs and goals. Most treatment will last 6 months-1 year. Counseling ends for a variety of reasons. Ideally, treatment ends when you have accomplished your goals and feel significantly different about your needs that you identified when you started counseling. You have the right to end counseling whenever you wish however.
Do we talk the whole time?
This depends on your preference. Many adults prefer to talk for the entire session. Many teens prefer to combine talking, art, and activities.
What is counseling homework?
Counseling homework is anything that I ask you to do between our sessions. The time commitment ranges greatly depending on your goals and energy level. Homework could be anything from taking daily walks, keeping a thoughts and feelings journal, practicing a new relational or parenting skill, to reading a book. Like all parts of treatment, it is optional but tends to greatly enhance your treatment.
How does counseling work with a teen?
Depending on your teen's age and maturity level, counseling will look similar to counseling adults, with the occasional art project or game. Teens 13 years and older have more rights to privacy and confidentiality, and can consent to their own treatment. I will discuss the limits of confidentiality with my adolescent clients and his/her parents if present. Adolescence is often a tumultuous time for families, and I strive to balance the wishes of my teen clients with those of his/her parents whenever appropriate.