What to Expect If You Decide to Start Therapy With Me
I know that coming to counseling can be anxiety-provoking, especially if your goal is to face painful emotions that you haven’t been able to get rid of on your own. So, I’d like to give you a brief idea of what to expect during the process:
Step #1: Deciding whether or not we will work together
In order to see if we might be a good fit to work together, we’ll first schedule a 15-minute phone consultation, during which I’ll ask you to share briefly with me about what you’re hoping to address and also give you a chance to ask me any questions you might have. If you’re looking for couples therapy, I do try to find a time to speak with both of you to hear your perspectives and give you both a chance to ask me any questions you have. I’ve found that having a brief phone conversation prior to an initial session can often save you time and money by helping us to determine whether I’m the best fit for the issues you’re looking to work on. If we decide that I’m not the best fit, I’ll give you some referrals for therapists who I think would better suit your needs.
Step #2: Completing the Online Intake Paperwork before we Meet
If we end up scheduling an initial session during our phone consultation, I’ll explain to you that I use an online healthcare system to keep all client information and treatment notes. With your permission, I’ll email you a link that allows you to create your own secure log-in to my online system and you’ll be able to review the intake forms at your leisure. The system is paperless so you’ll be able to electronically sign the forms, and there are also some basic intake questions for you to fill out if you’re willing.
Step #3: The First Session
During the first session, we meet for an hour in order to get to know each other better and to begin talking a bit more in detail about what you’d like to focus on in counseling. At the end of this session, I’ll check in with you to see if it felt like a good fit. There is never any pressure for you to continue…it’s really important that you find a therapist whom you feel comfortable with and I’m always happy to assist you in finding someone who is a better fit if it turns out I’m not that person.
Here are a few pictures of my office to give you a sense of what the space looks like:
step #4: ongoing weekly therapy sessions for at least 2-3 months
If at the end of your first session you decide you’d like to move forward, we typically try to find a weekly time slot that will allow you to come to therapy at the same time each week. I’ve found that people make the most progress when they attend counseling sessions weekly, at least for the first few months - weekly sessions allow us to get to know each other, to build momentum, and to make progress on addressing the goals that we identify together. It’s my goal to make therapy as effective as possible in the shortest amount of time, because I know that your resources are valuable. Also, if we didn’t settle on a focus for our time together during the first session, we’ll spend the next 1-2 sessions identifying a specific focus or goal, which will help us to stay on track and to know when progress is being made.
Throughout our sessions, my focus will be on staying present with you, coming alongside you as you are present with yourself. I provide guidance when you are stuck and help you to clarify what you’re experiencing. Through staying present yet separate from your emotions, we work deeper at your own pace, never rushing the process and never judging what you encounter. I also provide structure so that you are not overwhelmed by the emotions that you experience, which enables you to connect with your feelings and help them to heal in ways that are impossible when you’re emotionally overwhelmed.
step #5: reducing sessions/ending therapy
There may come a time in our work together when we decide it makes sense to reduce sessions to every other week or once a month. I do my best to accommodate your needs while also continuing to reserve certain higher demand time-slots (late afternoons and evenings) for people who need weekly sessions.
Since we stay focused on the goal(s) we identify together during the first few sessions, we will know when enough progress has been made that you feel ready to end therapy (or at least take a break). When this time comes we honor the hard work you have done and ensure that you feel supported as you transition out of therapy. I do my best to make myself available to you if you desire to return to counseling in the future and we make a plan for how you will be supported during this transition.
Please check out my FAQ page for answers to other questions you may have, including whether therapy is worth the investment.