WHAT TO EXPECT ….
THE FIRST VISIT
During the first session we will be collecting confidential contact information, as well as discussing the Informed Consent. The Informed Consent describes your rights and the ethical and legal guidelines of your counselor. After completing the forms, you will have the opportunity to share some of your story and the process leading you to seek counselling support. In the sessions that follow, the client and counselor will collaborate towards accomplishing the client’s goals. The process involves client participation and is, in so many ways, client directed. The counselor is considered the guide and maybe sometimes an illuminator of ideas, thoughts or revelations that may help to resolve the issues at hand. The counseling process may also include learning effective coping skills, strategies, and ways of overcoming emotional, or psychological problems.
How long are the sessions?
Counseling sessions are typically 30 or 45 minutes. Should you want longer sessions, they can be made in consultation with your counselor. (For couples counseling, often 60-minute sessions are beneficial.)
The therapeutic relationship is confidential. Your counselor will not share your identity and information with others to respect your personal experience and so that you feel safe and secure being open. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. The only exceptions to this is that counsellors have a legal requirement to disclose information if there is risk of danger/harm to yourself, someone else, a vulnerable person or child. If there is any information regarding child abuse this will need to be reported to the proper authorities. Counseling notes can also be subpoenaed to court.
Benefits and risks of counselling
There are many benefits to counselling, and each individual client determines their personal goals. Benefits may be an increased ability to live more effectively by improving your ability to cope with life pressures, family relationships & friendships. You may also gain better understanding of yourself, your goals and values that will assist you in your personal growth and career goals. Therapy can help a person gain new understanding about themselves, their relationships, and how it is currently assisting or hindering them in achieving their goals. Therapy allows a person to learn new ways of coping and solving their own identified problems. Therapy can help a person develop new skills and to change behavior patterns that aren’t working for them. Therapy can contribute to improved ability to cope with stress and difficult situations and can increase understanding of self and others.
There are risks to the therapeutic process. Counseling may involve the risk of remembering unpleasant events and may arouse strong emotions and feelings.
How we help?
We will be listeners. We will reflect back to you some of your thoughts and definitely what we notice in how you express your emotions. Through this process, our hope is that you make new meaning out of your current situation and begin to feel empowered to make the changes that seem right for you. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Is medication a substitute for counseling?
In some cases a combination of medication and counseling is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, counseling addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
What is a psychological evaluation?
At times it is important to have a thorough evaluation of an individual's psychological problems to understand the nature and severity of an emotional disturbance, learning disability, or behavioral problem. In such cases, it is beneficial to conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation to help with understanding the diagnosis and for treatment planning. Psychological evaluations can help with the following:
- Determine the presence of a developmental disorder including ADHD, learning disorder, Autism, behavioral disorder, and communication/ language disorders.
- For diagnosing of any mental conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and co-existing conditions.
- To clarify areas of strengths and weakness with adolescents and young adults
- To determine disability for purpose of educational planning and accommodations
- To identify psychological problems and coping skills for counseling