What to Expect
Thank you for visting this site. If you are here because you are thinking about visiting a counselor, this page may be of use to you, whether you chose to see me or any other therapist. You can find out some about my background by searching around this site. No matter who you chose to visit for services, be sure to ask your therapist any questions you might have about his or her credentials, professional experience, therapeutic methods used, and anything else you would like to know regarding your treatment. Think ahead about the expectations you bring to the therapeutic process, and don’t hesitate to bring them up or ask questions. You have decided to engage in therapy because you believe it may benefit you in some way. What are you hoping for? What are your fears or concerns? A discussion with your therapist about your expectations will get you both off to a good start. You have to know where you stand in order to figure out where you are going!
Some people enter the therapeutic process with very specific goals in mind. You may be entering into therapy for guidance and support in achieving very specific goals. It is not unusual, however, to come to therapy without really knowing what your goals for treatment should be. In that case, the first part of our job as a therapist/client team is figure it out together. Different circumstances call for different first steps. Whether you have specific goals in mind, or you just know that you’d like for something to change, my job as a therapist is to join with you in starting wherever you are. The only way to fail at achieving your goals is by failing to try!
Many people want to know how long they should expect to be engaged in the process. There is no way to predict the length of time it will take for you to get what need out of therapy. It depends on many complex factors, such as what your goals are, the ease or difficulty you will have in working to achieve them, the level of support you have and can create outside of your therapy sessions, and how hard you are willing to work to achieve the desired results. Goals often change during the coarse of treatment – when one goal is met another might follow. Unforeseen, yet relevant issues may come up during the course of your work that will lengthen and enrich the process. I have seen a small handful of clients whose goals have been met in 3 sessions or fewer. More often, true and lasting progress is made over the course of 2 to 24 months — sometimes even longer. Focus on progress along the way, rather than the length of time you will spend, and your experience and outcomes may well exceed your expectations.
Work Toward a Good Client/Therapist Relationship
Research has consistently shown that a positive client/therapist relationship is one of the best predictors of successful therapeutic outcomes. You are likely to get the most out of therapy if you feel you and your therapist have a good working relationship. I put every effort into creating a positive, supportive, and honest relationship with each client who works with me. My practice is guided by strict adherence to the ethical codes established by the National Association of Social Workers, and the standards of my profession as set forth by the State of Texas.
Life often calls for us to take risks in order to achieve rewards. Therapy does not come without some associated risks. For some, that risk may involve revealing long protected secrets. Even in the context of a supportive, non-judgmental and confidential setting, such revelation can cause discomfort. Sometimes, change may require taking a look at painful memories that continue to affect one’s perspective on life or the self – memories that feel they’d be best forgotten. For some, there may even be difficulties that arise within the client/therapist relationship. I work hard to create an atmosphere in which clients feel comfortable discussing any discomfort that may arise in therapy. Often great personal progress can be made by working through any potential difficulty or discomfort, rather than walking away from it. As with any other relationship, working through problems can make the therapeutic relationship even stronger, and can help clients feel more confident in working through challenges that arise in other relationships. Sometimes, with or without any challenges in the professional relationship, a client or I may find that we are not a good fit, whether it is simply a matter of personal style or a client may present with issues that are outside the realm of my expertise. In such rare cases, my job as a therapist is to help a client get what they need by making a referral to a trusted colleague who has a different personal approach or style, or has experience and knowledge in the area required.
Give and Receive Feedback
If you chose to work with me, don’t be afraid to let me know what is truly working well for you during our sessions and what you feel you may need more of. Any good therapist will appreciate your honesty about what you like and dislike about your therapeutic experience. As a therapist, my goal is to help you achieve your goals. The more I know, the more helpful I can be.
Do Your Homework
Effective therapy isn’t just about the hour or so that you spend in the therapy sessions each week. It’s about taking what you have learned or observed in your sessions and applying that knowledge and experience in the outside world — at work or school, in your relationships, etc.
Change happens when you are willing to push yourself gently but consistently out of your comfort zone and try things that are new, unfamiliar, and sometimes even scary. Sometimes therapy will involve actual, written homework assignments. More often, it will call for you apply yourself differently in various life situations by practicing new coping skills, or different ways of relating to and thinking life circumstances. The more effort you put into your life’s progress, the sweeter the rewards.