I’m thinking I might want to meet with a counselor…what should I expect?

Is life not going how you had hoped?  Not getting along with your spouse or your kids?  Feeling alone in the battle against anxiety, disappointment, despair?

Wondering if counseling might be the answer?  

Deciding to make an appointment with a counselor can be met with a host of feelings and reservations  from defeat and dread all the way to a twinge of hope and exhilaration  all those feelings are understandable!  While counseling is no magic pill to love life again, it certainly can be a step in the right direction toward increased harmony, health, and happiness.

Locate a reputable counselor in your area

Once you’ve decided to go for it, the first thing you’ll want to do is find a counselor in your area who has experience working with the kind of challenges that you’re facing.   Do some research online, and ask around.  Sometimes word of mouth can be a great way to determine if someone’s going to be a good fit for you.  Ask your doctor, trusted friends or family members, people in the community who may have benefited from a counselor in your area.

Get an appointment in the books!

Next you’ll want to set up an appointment to meet with the counselor.  You may be asked to fill out some intake paperwork ahead of time, or you may be given a verbal intake during that first session.  That initial meeting is when the two of you will get to know one another  the counselor will want to know more about what’s bringing you to counseling and what your goals are, and you’ll get to hear more about the counselor including how they approach therapy, what theories they drawn from,  how their sessions are typically structured, and more.  Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and clarify things you’re not sure about!

It’s all about relationship

Deciding to begin regular sessions with a counselor is a big decision you don’t want to waste precious time, money, and emotional energy  and it’s of the utmost importance that your counselor is someone that you believe you can form a good working relationship with.  Research shows that the counseling relationship is crucial to a successful outcome for clients!  So if you don’t feel comfortable with the counselor, you don’t have confidence that you can form a good relationship with him/her, or your gut tells you that this counselor is not a good match for you, then by all means pay attention to that!  If you have doubts (but also feel that you’d probably have doubts no matter who was in the chair across from you), then it’s a good idea to discuss that with the counselor-  see what they have to say and if it eases some of your concerns about the relationship that the two of you can have.  These kinds of discussions are not at all uncommon- counselors encourage this type of discourse, so be emboldened to bring up anything that might help you determine who is (and is not) going to be a good fit for you.  If you decide that this counselor is not the right one for you, then back to square one-  find another professional and make an appointment.  Starting over may sound exhausting, but it’s worth it to find someone with whom you can connect and develop a therapeutic alliance as you work on the important goals you’re bringing to counseling.

Best of luck to you!  If I can be of help to you in your journey, please contact me.