There are times in our lives when we need help in solving problems … or we need some support in making changes in our lives.
Counseling can help you solve life problems … learn techniques that will help improve your relationships with others … and improve the quality of your life. The following information may assist you as you select a counselor and in understanding the therapy process.
What Should I Expect From a Counselor?
Many people come to counseling expecting that the counselor will solve their problems for them. If they just do what the counselor advises, their problems will be resolved. Unfortunately, this is not a reasonable expectation. A good counselor/therapist helps you decide what you want to change in your life … helps you find solutions to your problems … and supports you as you make the changes you desire.
A good counselor is kind of like a coach. A coach and his team are partners in setting their goals and working together to reach those goals. The coach is there to guide the team, motivate the team, and support the team – but the team does the work.
What Should I Look for in a Counselor?
One of the most important elements of the therapeutic process is the relationship between you and the counselor with whom you work. There are some critical elements to the therapeutic relationship. Look for:
- A person with whom you feel comfortable and to whom you can talk
- A person you trust
- A person who you feel cares about you
- A person who believes in you, acknowledges your strengths and abilities, and your capacity to make changes
What Will Be Expected from Me?
Counseling is not a passive process – it is an active process. A desire to make changes and a commitment to work toward the goals that you and your counselor establish are critical. The counselor may encourage work between your sessions or may ask you to try new strategies in your relationships with others. It is important that you work on tasks or “homework” between your counseling sessions. It is also important that:
- You keep your scheduled appointments
- You candidly/honestly share your feelings with your counselor
- If things are not working in therapy, that you talk about that with your counselor
- You be willing to hear feedback that your counselor provides
What Will the Counseling Process Be Like?
While every counselor or therapist is unique, the process of counseling or therapy is very similar. You could expect that you will be seen for sessions that last approximately 1 hour; sessions will likely be held in the counselor’s office. Usually at the beginning of counseling you will be seen weekly or bi-weekly; as therapy progresses, sessions may be more spread out.
Generally, therapy starts with an assessment. The counselor will get to know you – your background, your medical history and family history, the issues that brought you to counseling, etc. The two of you will also discuss what you want to accomplish in your work together. During your early sessions with the counselor you will be able to assess the counselor and your comfortableness talking with him /her.
From the very first session with your counselor you can anticipate that the two of you will be working on change and working together to reach the goals you want to achieve.
How Long Will Counseling/Therapy Last?
The length of therapy depends upon the particular issues you wish to resolve. Some problems are rather straight forward and can be resolved with brief counseling services. Others may be more complicated or complex and require more lengthy services. Discuss this issue with your counselor when you discuss your goals and a plan for your services.
Evaluating My Progress in Therapy
As a part of the counseling process you and your counselor will discuss your progress in therapy and your satisfaction with services. Evaluation of your progress will be a regular part of your services at Transitions. We provide client directed outcome informed services, meaning that we will ask at each session if you were satisfied with the services you received and if you feel you are making progress toward your goals. We want to insure that you are getting what you want from your counselor and the counseling process.
We believe that people begin to make changes quickly in counseling, usually within the first three sessions. If, by the time of your sixth session, there are no changes, your counselor will talk with you about this. Together, you will determine what is needed in order for you to reach the goals you set. Sometimes people may need a different approach, may need a change in how services are provided, or need a change in providers.
What If I Am Not Satisfied With the Services I Am Receiving?
As we said earlier, the most critical element in the counseling process is the relationship between you and your counselor. If you are not satisfied with the services you are receiving or things are not going as you would like, it is important that you discuss your concerns candidly with your counselor. A good counselor will appreciate your honesty and your feedback. Do not quit counseling if you are dissatisfied … rather, talk about your concerns with your counselor. Together you can adjust the plan for your services, your counseling goals, and can find some ways to increase your satisfaction with services.
Thank you for choosing Transitions for your counseling
needs. We will work with you to reach
your goals and accomplish your dreams.
We want you to be satisfied with the services
you receive at Transitions and hope you will
let us know how we can increase your satisfaction with our services.