I’ve never been to a counselor. Up until this point in life I have handled things on my own. I feel like I am a failure to have to ask for help.
You are not a failure. Having the awareness that you need help is a big step in the right direction of emotional/mental health and healthy relationships. Our culture trains us to believe that we should be able to handle everything on our own. I believe that this “lie” has caused a lot of damage to individuals and relationships. We all, everyone of us, needs help along the way. There are things that a trained counselor can see and hear about you and your struggles that you are unable to see and hear. You will learn new things about yourself that will lead to greater health and freedom in your life and relationships.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The main difference is that I am objective and have no emotional tie to you. There are things that I can say because I am not your friend or family member. I can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Counseling is completely confidential and often people share things that they would not share with a friend or family member.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective but cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Many clients who come to counseling never need medication, some need it temporarily and some need it longer term. We will work together to navigate whether medication is needed. I have psychiatrists who I refer patients to if medication is needed. Sometimes primary care physicians will prescribe medications as well.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Before you come to your first appointment you will fill out paperwork that gives me a good sense of your overall health and history, including family history. At your first appointment I will just get to know you and hear about your life and present struggles. Then we will discuss your goals. What do you want to change in your life? In each session we will check-in on what we discussed the week before, check-in on progress on your goals and address what you want to talk about for that week's session. I usually give some sort of homework at the end of the session which may include reflecting on a new insight, practicing a new skill or taking care of yourself in a new way.
How long will it take?
It is not possible to tell you this before we meet and discuss what is going on in your life. I am solution-focused and hope you will see results within a few sessions. When you begin I recommend weekly sessions so that we can gain traction. We can move to every two weeks then once a month when you feel you are ready. I am trying to work myself out of a job so I will not suggest continued counseling if you have reached your goals. Of course how often we meet is up to you. If at any point you feel like the counseling is not moving in the right direction it is totally appropriate for you to tell me you would not like to continue. I generally recommend 2-3 sessions for you to decide whether I am a good fit for you. No offense is taken if you do not think I am a good fit for you . A good fit is essential.