What To Expect At The First Counseling Session
Signing up for counseling can be beneficial for a variety of different reasons. A professional counselor can help you when you are suffering from various mental health conditions. They are also capable of providing you with specialized counseling in many areas. If you need individual counseling, relationship counseling, job counseling, or substance abuse counseling, you can turn to a dedicated counselor who has experience and education in that area. A counselor is also someone who you talk to that will give you objective feedback and will be nonjudgmental and unbiased. Also, you do not have to have a mental health disorder to benefit from counseling. Many seek counseling because they are going through a difficult life challenge or transition and benefit from a professional’s guidance and support.
Some people get really nervous about going into a counseling session. If you have never seen a counselor before, then you likely have little idea what to expect or you may wonder if it will be like what you have seen on television. You may be worried about whether or not the interactions are going to be awkward or intimidating and that can be anxiety provoking. It is important to try to relax and realize that this is a normal fear and there are ways to prepare to reduce anxiety.
“Fear is a very normal and natural feeling.”
Your Counselor Will
Get to Know You
When you call our Clinic at 765-282-7150, the Office Staff will gather some basic demographic information and brief reason(s) for counseling services which will be given to the Clinical Director (Dr. Angela Lykins) for review.
Dr. Lykins will review the primary concerns that have been reported and assign a professional counselor from her Clinical Staff to begin the counseling process with you.
During your first counseling session which lasts approximately one hour, your counselor is going to take some time to get to know you and you will also be getting to know the counselor and his or her style. Many experts agree that more important than the experience and background of the counselor is the rapport between the counselor and the client.
You want to be able to feel comfortable while speaking with the counselor and sharing information. Rapport can take time to build, so it is important to give your counselor more than one session to determine if it is a good fit or not.
You will likely be asked questions about your life and your background. This could include things such as your occupation, your academic background, family dynamics, and what your hobbies are. Aside from general questions, the counselor will also ask about your life situation. Questions about your relationships will come up, and all of your answers will help them to gain an understanding of your life.
All of these questions are necessary so that they can come to know you and make an initial assessment and create an individualized treatment plan how best to help you. Initial sessions are often more about discovering the presenting problems that have led you to seek counseling rather than immediately jumping into deeper issues that are present. So even if you don’t feel noticeably different or better after your first session, it does not at all indicate that you will not have a successful treatment episode with that counselor.
The counselor is also going to want to hear in your words the reasons why you are seeking counseling. Even if these issues are not discussed in complete detail during the first session, they will be addressed in-depth at a later session. You determine what you want to share and work on and the level and pace that you feel comfortable. Do not feel that you have to tell your counselor all of your deepest secrets or anything that you are not ready to share.
Being able to talk openly about your reasons for seeking counseling is important. You may also be asked about certain causes of triggers for problems that you are experiencing. For example, some people suffer from severe stress and anxiety due to having very demanding careers. If this is the case, then your counselor may wish to discuss some of the challenging aspects of your job to get a greater picture of why these issues are happening.
It will be a conversation that will expand over time. Your initial visit will be the beginning, and the discussions about your issues will be elaborated on in the future sessions. You may also come to realize problems that are beneath the surface that you were not aware of until going through the session.
It all begins with an idea. Maybe you want to launch a business. Maybe you want to turn a hobby into something more. Or maybe you have a creative project to share with the world. Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.
Don’t worry about sounding professional. Sound like you. There are over 1.5 billion websites out there, but your story is what’s going to separate this one from the rest.
If you read the words back and don’t hear your own voice in your head, that’s a good sign you still have more work to do.
Be clear, be confident and don’t overthink it. The beauty of your story is that it’s going to continue to evolve and your site can evolve with it.
Your goal should be to make it feel right for right now. Later will take care of itself. It always does.
Your Feelings and Symptoms Will Be Discussed
Try To Be Open And Honest with Your Counselor
Everyone feels embarrassed sometimes, and it may not always be easy to be completely honest. You might have the urge to lie or avoid answering certain questions with complete accuracy. The problem is that when you do not tell the truth to your counselor, the session is not going to be as effective. You will not be able to make true breakthroughs if the counselor does not know what is going on. It is perfectly okay if you are not ready to talk about something, but instead of being evasive about it, just tell your counselor that you are not ready at this time.
Try to remember that your counselor is not judging you. Your counselor talks to people about extremely private and personal matters every day. Your counselor wants to create a safe environment for you to talk about hard things and that can take some time for you to feel comfortable to share certain things, and that is okay.
Also, your counselor is ethically bound to keep what you say confidential, except for certain situations which will be in your paperwork and your counselor should go over these exceptions with you. The limitations to confidentiality vary by state, but in general, are:
If you are a danger to yourself or someone else, your counselor would be responsible to get you the appropriate help, and counselors are mandated reporters for child abuse and elder abuse and exploitation.
But in general, everything is confidential. Your counselor cannot even tell anyone that she is seeing you unless you sign a consent for release of information. Try to not get overly anxious about this and if you have any questions or concerns, please address them with your counselor.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You should never be afraid to ask questions either. If you have any concerns about the counseling process or questions about how you are feeling, then you should speak up. Your counselor would much rather know that you are not connecting or getting better than for you to cancel your next session and never come back. You can talk to your counselor about anything that you want to and you can expect professional and objective feedback and suggestions. When you take the time to properly engage with your counselor, it ensures that your counseling session is going to be that much more successful. Try to maintain this level of commitment throughout your time in counseling and your problems so that you get the most you can from your counseling experience. Remember too, that progress can be uncomfortable.
You may be talking about things that you don’t feel safe talking to other people about or maybe something you haven’t told anyone else. It is your counselor’s job to help you make progress, not to always make you feel better at that moment. Growth and positive change start with the discomfort. Just as you do not build muscle and endurance without challenging workouts, the same is true for counseling.