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What is Counseling?

And what can I expect from the process?

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Whether this is your first experience with counseling, or you have been attending to your mental health needs for years, it is helpful to learn about what you, the client, can expect from counseling and being a part of the therapeutic process. I recognize that not every clinician practices therapy, or counseling, with the same approach, but there are elements of the process that are applicable to most client-clinician relationships. I believe it is important for the client to have full transparency regarding that process. Learn more about my own specific counseling approach and what you can expect from working with me, by clicking here

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It is understandable to experience the desire for counseling to be a space where you have one defining moment that allows for a big cry or cathartic release, and then resolve all the difficulties or challenges that brought you there originally, but this is not a realistic expectation and can actually be harmful for you, the client, as you may feel disappointed or misled about the process. Counseling is just that - a process.

As you engage in the process collaboratively with a counselor who is a good fit for you, you are able to build trust and a strong therapeutic relationship, which can allow you to make gradual progress and healing changes in your life. Counseling is practiced both inside and outside of the therapeutic space, meaning that much of the progress made by the client takes place in their daily lives - moments in which the clinician is not present. While it can feel overwhelming to hear this, having a supportive person who is there to act as a non-biased third party, who offers perspective, guidance, tools, etc., to work through those processes and changes can make a significant difference.

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Another expectation that people commonly have when they come to counseling is to be “fixed” or “cured”. Therapy can NOT “fix” you because you are NOT broken. You are NOT sick, so therapy can’t be your “cure”. There certainly are many things that counseling can do for you, but we are not sorcerers like Dr. Strange, so we are not able to eliminate your problems for you.  An effective clinician can guide, support, and challenge you with warmth and compassion.

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You can expect to be attentively listened to and heard with genuine compassion, warm regard, and curiosity. You can expect to set goals, usually through a process known as Treatment Planning, for yourself in therapy, which help guide the path that you and the clinician will be walking along. The therapeutic space can help you better understand and resolve problems, so you can achieve the changes you desire. While counseling will not “fix” nor “cure” you, the main objective is to help clients develop the resources within their inner and outer world to navigate the ups and downs that are inherent in life. 


For more information, please check out this article, which I have found helpful to share with clients who come to me for counseling.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

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