Emergency or Crisis
If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal or homicidal please contact Crisis Services 1-877-266-1818 at the Suicide Hotline, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Clinician hours are by appointment only and counselors don’t answer the phone when in session, so we may not be available immediately, but if you are feeling like you need an extra appointment, have scheduling concerns or a brief question, feel free to reach out to your counselor by text or phone and he or she will get back to you within 24-48 hours.
Show up to your scheduled appointments
Therapy is work, and it can be hard work at times. When you and your counselor go deeper into your struggles, sometimes the you might feel overwhelmed, and might want to avoid coming in again. There might be issues in your life that make it difficult to show up. But like the proverbial seed in the ground, that seed will not grow unless it is watered consistently. If there are issues that are interfering with your ability to come regularly to your scheduled appointments, contact your counselor to let him or her know and we will work on a plan together to help you.
Just beginning the journey of therapy is a monumental step toward personal growth and better health
It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to recognize what is going on in your life and make the decision to change what is not working for you. Making that first call to reach out is a HUGE step towards your personal growth. We invite you to honor the courage and strength that it takes to reach out and be vulnerable.
Talk about what’s really on your mind – not just what happened, but what stands out to you
There are events, stressors, and relationships that can affect our mental health, for the better or for the worse. We want to talk about what is important to you and what is affecting you the most. It can be uncomfortable to be vulnerable to someone and express how things in your life are really affecting you – but it is difficult to receive help unless you share what is really going on. To share what is really going on inside can feel like a big risk – but as you feel more comfortable, you can reveal what is important to you – your hopes and dreams, as well as your doubts and fears. Together, we can build a foundation of trust and communication as part of your personal growth. Research has shown that over half of the efficacy of counseling is in the therapeutic relationship alone. In this journey, your counselor is your traveling partner to collaborate with for the goal of bettering your mental health but cannot take you anywhere you aren’t prepared and willing to go. If you are not ready to access deeper emotions, your counselor will not push or cajole you to do so, but we may be able to talk about what is getting in the way for you and how we can overcome that barrier.
Therapy goes beyond the office
The average frequency for counseling appointments is once per week, for a therapeutic hour, which is typically between 40 and 60 minutes, depending upon what your insurance allows and what you need. That is not a lot of time! It is believed and has been shown that what happens in the office is a microcosm, or smaller-scale version of how you interact with the world outside. Your counselor may assign you homework, loan you a book, or send you an article that might help to better foster your mental health but cannot make you read them. Your engagement with your growth and health are paramount to your progress and are invaluable, as well as empowering! Taking your own mental health into your hands is wonderful for your self-esteem and can help you gain a sense of control over your life. In short, you will gain from counseling what you put into it. Your counselor may suggest community resources or make a referral for a physical with your doctor. It is important that you follow through with accessing these additional supports. Failing to follow through can slow the therapeutic process or even be dangerous to your health and well-being.
Give yourself time to assess how good a fit a therapist is for you
Therapists are people too, with their own personalities, quirks, dreams, hopes, doubts, and fears. While most therapists have similar training, their backgrounds and life experiences (and let’s not forget, personalities!) may or may not be a good fit for you. Some clients appreciate a therapist who is directive, telling them what they think is helpful and giving advice, some clients appreciate a therapist who is more inquisitive, and then some others may appreciate a therapist who is more supportive, and allows them the space to work out their issues on their own. Every therapist will have a slightly different approach, and that is OK. If you feel at any point that a therapist is not a good fit or that this therapy is not working for you, we are always open to discuss it. We want what is best for you. If at any point in your work together that you are curious why your therapist is suggesting a certain technique or intervention, or why she’s even asking a question, you have an open invitation to question it. The therapeutic relationship is built upon trust, communication, and boundaries. The more that the therapist understands how she impacts you as a therapist, the more impact our work together can have. If something is working, we’d love to hear from you, and the same goes for if something is not working. Ultimately, if you feel you would like to be referred to another counselor, you can let your therapist or the office know – we will work with you to find someone who works well for you.
Consider your goals
It is very common that when people come to therapy, they want a goal to be to reduce their symptoms, for example, “I want to be less anxious,” or, “I don’t want to be depressed anymore.”, or “I don’t want to fight with my spouse anymore.” That is an admirable step towards your recovery and growth! To further refine your goals, consider what your world might look like if your anxiety, or depression, or fighting with your spouse were magically gone. What would you be doing? What goals might you be achieving? Your self-esteem is higher, perhaps you have developed more self-compassion, or perhaps gained better communication skills to better connect with your partner? It can feel easier to recognize what we don’t want, but it can be more difficult to imagine what we do want. We hopeful that in our work together, we can help you assess what you want to see more of in your life. These are your goals. Initially we will be formulating your goals in therapy. These can be changed at any time – and often do, but they give us direction and help keep our work together focused on what matters most. We are working from the very beginning of therapy toward a time when you no longer need support, so discharge is part of the entire process. That’s why we focus your goals on what it will look like when you have reached your them – so we know when we are done working together! However, if something else arises or you need a chance to re-affirm your growth, we have an established relationship you can come back to.
What to expect when starting to engage in therapy
In the first few sessions, you and your counselor are building the therapeutic relationship. He may seem to listen a lot more than he talks, namely because he is wanting to learn your story, and how your current struggles are affecting you in this moment. Once rapport has been established, you can talk more deeply, he can suggest interventions, and you can engage in exercises or techniques that might help your journey to better mental health and personal growth.