WHAT TO EXPECT
You can expect that Melissa will be non-judgmental and supportive. She will guide your therapy, but she will not tell you what to do. The therapeutic process in individual counseling involves meeting together to determine what it is that you would like to work on, so that Melissa can develop an understanding of how you can best work together. During the first few sessions she collects information about your current life, your strengths, resources, current patterns and about the family you grew up in. After this she will share her observations and together you will begin addressing your presenting issues, so that you can start to feel better. You will work together to ensure that you feel safe, supported and contained through the therapeutic process.
YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT
During the first session Melissa will go over the initial paperwork with you (including policies and procedures, confidentiality and its limits, federal privacy laws, etc.) and review how therapy works, as well as confidentiality and its limits. Reviewing what concerns you have that resulted in you seeking therapy, as well as any attempts you have made to address the problem including which interventions have been successful or unsuccessful. Since everyone is different, Melissa likes to do a thorough assessment which includes asking about what your strengths and interests are, how you are doing in work, what your social life is like, what makes you happy and what motivates you. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have, as well as conveying any information you feel would be helpful in working with you.
During subsequent sessions, Melissa will screen for any major mental health symptoms, which will guide the treatment plan, or any further referrals. Her goal is to make the therapeutic process warm and welcoming, so you will be able to benefit fully.
Each person is unique, depending on their individual personality and strengths a treatment plan will be formulated to address your particular concerns. During the first few sessions you and Melissa will begin work on your coping skills. You will receive more individualized therapeutic “homework” throughout your counseling process for additional support and a resource for future reference. Often times, certain books or other helpful tools may be suggested to supplement the therapeutic experience. Many of those can be purchased separately on Amazon.
WHAT IS COUNSELING LIKE?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance