Q: I’ve never done counseling or therapy before. What is it like?
A: You and I will begin where you are at—emotionally and psychologically—and work together to create a safe nonjudgmental space, therapeutic relationship and process where you can explore your struggles and identify your therapeutic needs and goals. The treatment processes and interventions I use will be based specifically on your individual situation, needs, and goals. This is a very collaborative and respectful process. I welcome any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding your therapy at any time. In order for therapy to be most successful, it is important for you to take an active role in this process. This means working on the things you and I talk about both during and between sessions, and meeting for sessions on a regular basis.
Q: How could a counselor or therapist help me?
A: My goal is to empower, support and assist you in expanding your knowledge, skills and capacities to meet your identified needs and goals. Whenever possible, this process may include identifying, processing and resolving causes of your current struggles rather than simply managing or treating the symptoms. Additionally, our work together often involves me supporting you in improving the health, quality and depth of your relationships as well. In my experience, as clients become more aware and accepting of themselves, and as they increase their knowledge and skills, they are more capable of finding peace, joy, satisfaction, meaning and depth in their lives and relationships.
Q: How long does the therapy process take?
A: Increasing self-awareness, self-acceptance, personal knowledge and skills are goals that may take a long time to achieve. While some clients need only a few sessions to achieve their goals, others may need months or in some cases, years of therapy. Generally, the more of yourself you are willing to invest, the greater the return. The length of your treatment and the timing of the eventual termination of your treatment depend on the specifics of your treatment plan and the progress you achieve. It is my policy to only see clients who I believe have the capacity to resolve their own problems with my assistance. My intention is to empower you in your growth process to the degree that you are capable of facing life’s challenges in the future without me.
Q: What if I feel nervous about sharing my personal struggles with a therapist?
A: This is very common. Most people feel nervous when they first begin therapy. I want you to know that I have a strong belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. One of the most important things to me is creating a safe, healthy, caring and compassionate working relationship with you in order to enable you to heal, grow and progress. My office is a judgment-free zone. I see that as an absolutely essential part of creating a safe space and therapeutic relationship with you. You are always in the driver’s seat so to speak, and the one in charge of your therapeutic direction. We will discuss options and you get to decide what you think is best for you because this is your life and your relationships. Most clients report that as their comfort and trust in me and the therapy process increases, their feelings of nervousness significantly decrease or stop.
Q: How long are therapy sessions?
A: All of my therapy sessions with my clients are 90 minutes because that has been shown to be the “gold standard” session length, especially when there are any relationship issues or trauma involved in your struggles. I have found that my clients and I are able to create a lot more change, progress and momentum by meeting for 90 minutes every two weeks than what we are able to do if we meet weekly for shorter sessions. If we think of your struggles as being like an iceberg, the 90 minute sessions allow us the time to access and identify what’s going on under the surface of the water, and these patterns, themes, and deeper emotions under the surface of the water are key to enabling us to creating significant change and progress with your struggles.
Q: How often do we meet for sessions?
A: I recommend that my clients meet a minimum of once every two weeks. Meeting less often results in you losing momentum between sessions and while we can use your session to process the biggest issue from the previous month but we are not able to create as much change and progress as we can when we consistently meet once every two weeks. It’s kind of like the difference between going to the gym once a month versus exercising throughout the month.