We want to describe how we think of the counseling relationship, so you can have the best possible idea if we are a good fit. We believe in every client who comes into our office. You have already taken one of the hardest steps by the time you walk in by reaching out for help. From first-hand experience, we know how hard that can be.
Have you ever noticed how it is easier to see the problems and issues in someone’s life from the outside?
The first ingredient of treatment is awareness. Most of us have patterns of behavior, thoughts or feelings that we can’t easily notice while we’re doing them. This leads us to be stuck repeating the same patterns over and over. This can be the reason we have the same problems in our relationships or get into the same rut. We will work together to explore different areas of your life, both where you struggle and where you are doing well. If we can discover why things are working well in some areas of your life, we can use your strengths to build new patterns of behavior.
So is counseling a place I go to get told how I am doing things wrong?
Many clients in their first session have expressed concern about being judged or that they are wrong. Let us say it directly, our work does not focus on telling you that you are doing things wrong or to judge you. Behaviors that don’t work for us now were usually created to deal with specific situations or environments in our past. We refer to these behaviors as creative adjustments, because they were once a way that we used our creativity to adjust to or survive our environment. We think it’s important to acknowledge the role these behaviors had in the past because that also informs us if there are parts of them we want to keep.
I am here to work with you to create new ways of engaging in life and building new solutions.
This may seem obvious, but you are always going to be the expert on your life. We can help to provide insight (because we have that outside perspective), and offer techniques, exercises, ways of communicating and many other things to help you on your journey, but they need to be things that work for your life. We need you to be an active partner in this process in trying out what we work on in sessions in the rest of your life. That is how you get the most out of counseling.
Our work revolves around learning about your life and acting as a warm outside perspective who helps you understand how the issues in your life may be connected, and then help you to create solutions that fit what you need. We are active partners in this work rather than me acting as the “expert” who tells you what to do.