What happens in a counseling session?
After first meeting the client, what is the process that a counselor facilitates?
Each counselor may have a different process, so I'm not the end all authority here. For myself, I review policies and confidentiality concerns with people first and answer any questions they have.
Then I'll let them know I'll be writing a lot in this session and I have an assessment form that I like to get completed, but I want to have a conversation and I'll ask questions as we go. My first question is usually, "How do you feel I can best help you today?" Some people are very at ease and tell me many details. Others are a bit more reserved and I have to demonstrate more curiosity.
Even people who have been very apprehensive are usually feeling very relaxed by the time the session is over. Usually, when we get close to end of session time, I'll summarize what I think are the biggest concerns from what I've heard and confirm whether or not the person wants to work on those things. I also try to give an exercise targetting my biggest concern for them to work on in between sessions. For instance, a relaxation method if they are very anxious.
Counselors are just humans as well, so it does take a bit of time to really get to know another person. I always tell people that are apprehensive to give the counselor 3 or 4 sessions to determine if they really connect with them.
I hope that helps,
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After meeting a client, many Counselors will ask you lots of questions in order to complete a thorough assessment of what you came to counseling for. This assessment is required by most insurances and allows the Counselor to give a diagnosis, which is also required by most insurances in order for them to pay the Counselor. If you are paying out of pocket, this diagnosis is not really required for payment, but many Counselors will still perform a comprehensive assessment because we really want to know what the issues are that brought you to us. The better we understand what it is that bothers you, what you would like to get out of the counseling, and all the various things that tend to affect people such as family upbringing and medical issues, the easier it is for us to help you reach those goals. How the counseling actually plays out from there depends a lot on the theory that the Counselor uses to direct their approach to counseling, and that information is too much for this little post.
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A good therapist will discuss what brought you to therapy in the first place and devise a therapy plan with you on some of the things that you may want to work on. The plan is not set in stone as things may arise during your therapy sessions. You also agree on how often and when you would like to meet.
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Great question which I imagine many other people have as well.
The therapist will want to know your main source of life discomfort. In what areas are the problem interactions which you hope will disappear?
The therapist is trained to listen for your emotions to your story.
And to open these up to you in a kind and safe way so that you'll start to see your circumstance in a new light in which you feel more of your own authority to handle the troubling conditions.
The therapist and you will refine your thinking and theories.
The therapist will ask questions to help you prepare for any stumbling blocks along your way of creating your own new answers to the problem you brought to counseling.
I hope you'll enjoy learning and creating new thinking and interacting patterns!
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