What Happens in Therapy Sessions?

This article is intended to be of help two two kinds of people. Individuals who are looking to attend their first therapy session will learn what to expect as they start therapy.  People who have experienced counseling before will find details about my approach to therapy. 

While all good therapists follow certain practices, like everyone else we have our own personalities and preferences. I hope you'll find we're a good match.

Preparing For The First Session

You can schedule an appointment with me using the schedule now or book now buttons on the web pages. You can also schedule by phone, text, or email. 

After you request an appointment I will confirm the date and time, and I will send you information on directions. My office is located near the intersection of Clairmont and N. Decatur. I'm on the second floor and share an office suite with several colleagues. My office is just off the waiting room.

I'll also send you some paperwork you can fill out prior to your first appointment.  The forms ask for basic information like date of birth, address, and counseling history.  Other forms describe office policies.

What to Expect to Happen In Your First Sessions

Psychotherapy is intended to provide a safe environment for you to discuss, explore, and resolve problems or struggles in your life. The process works best when you talk freely about what is going on in your life (events), in your body (sensations), and in your mind (thoughts or emotions). Sometimes these thoughts are scary to confront or admit. Sometimes you may worry about what I'm thinking about you.  While it is normal to have these concerns, rest assured that therapy is a place where you will not be judged. Whatever you bring up you'll find me an eager and understanding listener.

A big part of your success in therapy will depend on what you bring of yourself to the office. Clients who benefit most from therapy are engaged and fully present in sessions. It is also essential to be honest with your therapist.  While it may take a bit of time to build trust, the more you share with me the better I can help you.  Our sessions are always confidential.

It's also important that you share thoughts or feelings about me as a therapist and our sessions.  If you are feeling frustrated or angry with me one day, let me know. You won't hurt my feelings, and I'll appreciate the chance to understand you better.  Conversely, when something is going well, you can tell me that, too.

Be prepared in the first session to tell me about your past experiences with therapy counseling--what has or hasn't worked in the past.  If you've never been to counseling before, then tell me your assumptions and expectations for our meetings. 

What To Expect From A Therapist

As a counselor, my priorities are listening, understanding, and earning your trust. In individual counseling sessions I am quieter and let you do most of the talking. My goal is to understand what it is like to be in your shoes and to see the world through your eyes. I try to listen non-judgmentally: I'm not here to punish people or make them feel guilty. Rather I want you to know that I'll support you through the good times and bad and that I'm always on your side.

One misunderstanding some people have about therapy is that they expect the therapist to solve problems for them.  I generally don't do that. During the course of our time together you may face big decisions and changes in your life. You are always in control of your own life. My job is to help you see the pros and cons of decisions and to help point out any blinders or assumptions you may be making.  If you are stuck, I will help you get unstuck. I will always try to help you reach your goals. 

I generally let clients lead sessions. You decide what we will talk about each day.  We'll often veer off onto other topics. I will sometimes offer challenges or interpretations of things I hear, and will ask you questions to be sure I'm understanding what you're saying.

How Many Sessions Will Therapy Last?

I generally use well researched and proven treatment methods in my practice. Sometimes supporters of a particular method will promise a cure in 6, 10, or 12 sessions. Some clients do find fast results with counseling and therapy. Many clients, however, present withmore complicated problems or histories.  For that reason, 12-20 sessions is not uncommon.  And, yes, some clients do spend a year or more in therapy.

In the first few sessions we will discuss your goals and concerns for therapy.  We will also discuss treatment expectations. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and change the focus if you want to shorten your time in counseling.

You are the final judge of if therapy is working or not. You are free to stop at any time, but I ask that if you get the feeling that you're ready to stop, please tell me first. It is better if we can prepare for ending our sessions and arrange for a smooth transition out of therapy.  It is also helpful for me if you let me know what you feel has worked for you or helped you out the most.  I learn and grow from your feedback.

How To Ask More Questions

If you have further questions beyond the information presented, please send me a note by clicking on the button below. A form will open where you can fill in your information and question.

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