Below is a list of questions often asked when beginning Counseling. As with most things in life, beginning something new can be stressful. The questions below will give you a better understanding of the therapy process as well as my practice.
What is Counseling?
What occurs during a therapy session?
How long do I go to therapy?
Just what does a therapist do?
Does a therapist tell me what to do, or run my life for me?
Can I change therapists?
Can my therapist choose not to continue to see me?
What is Counseling?
Counseling, also known as Therapy, occurs when you visit a mental health professional to assist you with problems. The goal of the therapist is to be an objective participant in the counseling process. Unlike other relationships in your life, the therapist provides a professional relationship within a safe, neutral environment. What is said in session between a client and therapist is confidential, meaning the therapist cannot inform others of the content of the session. There are exceptions to this, which can be found at my Privacy
page, however, they do not occur often. During therapy, the therapist and client work together to find solutions that best benefit the client.
What occurs during a therapy session? A therapy session is often 45 minutes in length. The session often begins with a recap of what happened during the previous session. The therapist and client then discuss what has occurred since the last session. Often problems are discussed, where the client learns different ways to view problems. Towards the end of the session, the therapist often recommends a task for the client to do before the next session to further the therapy process. Therapy sessions often follow this model. However, most therapists are flexible and will adjust this to match the need of their clients. In my practice, I follow this model but will change things up to better suit the needs of my client.
How long do I go to therapy? This entirely depends on you and the problems you are experiencing. Each person and situation are different, making it difficult to predict the length of the therapy process. I have seen clients come in for one session, decide to change something within their life, and not find a need to return. I have also seen others who spend months or even years in therapy. In short, it all depends on what you wish to gain while in therapy. The average time people are in therapy is between eight and ten sessions, with one session per week.
Just what does a therapist do? A therapist works with you to provide a different perspective on the events in your life. By being on the outside, a therapist can see solutions to problems you may not. The therapist presents these solutions to you, allowing you to choose the best solution to your problems. While there are many different therapy styles, most therapists believe in letting the client choose their own path. A therapist may also help teach skills to better deal with problems.
Does a therapist tell me what to do, or run my life for me? The short answer is NO! A therapist does not tell you what to do, or what decisions to make. You, as a client, have the right to make your own decisions in your life. No therapist can make decisions for their clients as they do not have to live with the consequences of the decisions. A therapist’s job is to help the client see multiple solutions to their problems and to show the client different viewpoints. A therapist may help teach the client new skills. However, the therapist will not make decisions for the client.
Can I change therapists? As a client, you have the right to seek the therapist of your choice. This means you do not have to continue seeing a therapist. If you wish to change therapists, the best idea is to talk with the therapist and have the therapist refer you to another therapist. You may also find another therapist of your choosing.
Can my therapist choose not to continue to see me? Yes, your therapist can decide not to continue having you as a client. However, the therapist cannot stop seeing you without offering to help you find another therapist. Often the therapist will refer you to another therapist. A therapist cannot abandon you without trying to find you a therapist.