In past blog entries, we’ve discussed how to find the right therapist as well as the top 5 questions to ask a potential therapist, but what exactly does “therapy” entail? Depending on the therapist you ultimately decide to work with, it could mean many different things. Therapists (or counselors, the term will be used interchangeably here) have various ways of working with clients and everyone has his or her own style. Some counselors are passive and will listen to your experiences without a lot of interjection. Others will engage you as you share your story and ask questions to help you explore your current circumstances. Still others may assign homework and give you specific tasks to work on outside of session meant to help you meet your individual goals.
At Sanctuary, we all share a passion for helping others but have distinct methods of working with our clients – and different areas of specialization. Depending on the client’s needs, we can tailor our practice to suit his or her goals and individual life circumstances. In the new home we have built for our Sanctuary community, we’re installing an art studio that will allow us to utilize art therapy with our clients. We also have a dedicated group room where we’re planning programs for LGBTQ, College Preparation, and Couples groups, among others. Many clients choose to utilize individual therapy as well as group programs to further support their individual needs.
But to simplify – and demystify – the idea of counseling, allow me to give you the basics. Therapy allows you to work through whatever might be troubling you in a safe, confidential, and judgment-free space. Each 50-minute session allows you and your therapist to work on your individual goals. It’s time that is devoted entirely to you, guided by the knowledge and experience of a professional. Depending on your needs, the number of sessions that you require to reach resolution of your concerns may vary, but we have found that we tend to see our clients for an average of 4 to 6 months. Each person’s experience is highly individual though, so the 4 to 6 month range is only offered as an average.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for your first session with your counselor – and to make sure you’re getting the most benefit out of your future sessions.
- Take advantage of the 15 minute free phone consultation before your first session. This will allow you to get a feeling for your therapist and see if there’s a good personality fit. It will also allow you to ask any questions you may have about the practice or your therapist’s experience.
- Fill out your new client paperwork before your appointment. Once you arrive, we will take a few moments to go over everything, but to waste part of your 50-minutes actually completing the necessary paperwork isn’t time well spent.
- Think about what you want to discuss. Therapy is all about you! It’s a great idea to come into each session with an idea of what you want to discuss. Your therapist will help guide your therapy but ultimately, you’re the expert on YOU.
- Recognize that working with a counselor is a relationship. If at any point there is something you need to discuss with your counselor in order to make the relationship more functional or stronger, you should feel open to do so. And if the fit just isn’t right, you shouldn’t be afraid to express that as well. The most important aspect of any successful relationship is trust.
If there are any specific questions we can answer for you, please feel free to contact us at any time. We’d be happy to discuss our practice with you to help you decide if Sanctuary would be a good fit for your counseling needs.