What to expect at your first session:
I welcome you, I accept and value you as a human being, I want to understand you, I want us to be able to be open and honest with each other and for you to feel safe in sharing your story with me. I value and strive for a counseling relationship that is egalitarian which encourages equality between myself and you. You should be aware that you have the power to change and define yourself and that I am only a tool to share new insight and information.
The first session is about information gathering and the beginning of establishing the therapeutic relationship. Research has shown that the connection between the therapist and the client is one of the most important factors for successful therapy. It is so important that the highest level of trust and emotional safety is established in the environment of my therapy office. I strive to listen, validate and empathize with your situation in a warm, compassionate and non-judging manner.
1) Intake and Consent for Treatment: You’ll be asked to read and sign a consent form before we start the first session – you can request to have it e-mailed to you before your session. It provides information about the limits of confidentiality and require you to sign your consent to engage in the therapeutic relationship. If you are 16 or under then your parent also has to sign the consent form.Fees and office polices are also layed out. You will also be asked to complete an intake form which can be emailed prior to the first session.
2) Assessment: I’ll want to hear about how you define your issue. What are you looking for help with? If there are uncomfortable symptoms associated, I’ll want to assess the level of severity as well as know about your support system, your coping skills, if you have seen a counselor before and what has and hasn't been effective in the past.
3) Your Story: I’ll ask you to tell me your story and I’ll ask about your family of origin, important relationships, your childhood and other questions to help me understand your situation. I likely won’t get your entire story in one session but we’ll begin to look at it.
4) Wrap Up: I always suggest that after the session ends you consider if you do feel that there is a good fit between us and then we take it from there.