What is the first session like?
Seeking professional help is an act of courage, but many people feel uncomfortable on their first session. It is definitely not easy to be vulnerable in front of a stranger. This is why it is crucial that you find the right mental health professional to work with. If we already talked on the phone and you decided that my services are a good fit for you, this is what happens during the first session:
1. We discuss the reasons why you are seeking help.
2. I ask several questions about you and your family history to have a bigger picture of who you are and where you come from.
3. You share with me what you hope to get out of counseling and potential goals you want to work toward.
Of course there are times when clients come to me not sure knowing what they want to work on or what their goals for counseling are. This is common and completely fine, we can still work together and slowly explore what your needs are. My goal is to create a judgment-free and empathic environment where you feel safe to share, be yourself, and focus on what is important to you.
What are the benefits and risks of counseling?
Simply having a trained professional listening to you and you feeling understood can be quite therapeutic. Counseling can give you new insights that help you move closer toward your personal goals. It can also enhance your understanding of self and help you become more accepting of yourself. Finally, through professional guidance and support you can overcome challenges much easier and learn new coping skills to deal with future challenges.
However, there can also be some risks associated with counseling. As you talk about unpleasant experiences and recall painful memories, there is a chance that you might feel overwhelmed and experience different strong emotions and discomfort, but that is temporary and part of the healing process.
How long does counseling last?
There is no length set for counseling. It all depends on your needs and circumstances, so it is hard to predict how long or how many sessions you would need. I usually start seeing clients once a week for about 2 months. After that, many continue weekly, while others prefer every other week, and eventually once a month to transition out of counseling. Usually, deep-rooted and long-lasting issues will require longer to resolve, while less complex and more specific ones less time. Once you begin to see the changes that you are hoping for, we may adjust the frequency of our sessions as you start to rely on the resources you discovered and learned
One important thing to keep in mind is that counseling is a collaborative work, and you must take an active role in it. Equally important is consistency. In order to see results, you have to commit to the process and that takes time.