"When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves."
- Viktor Frankl
Your personal counseling with us starts the moment you reach out for assistance. The first step can oftentimes be the hardest, yet once taken, relief can follow...
In a very simplified way, counseling is a relationship, and a potentially very healing and corrective one at that. Unlike a relationship with friends or family who may have their own unhealthy behaviors, agendas, and biases, the relationship between you and I will be an exemplary one that is healthy, therapeutic, and which develops and deepens over the course of time. It is the foundation of everything to come.
Counseling tends to evolve in a series of three stages or phases. The first stage comprises you and I developing "therapeutic rapport". This includes establishing and growing your level of comfortability, safety, trust, and ability to express yourself whole heartedly without restriction. It's a great time to get to know eachother and for you to decide if I will be a good fit for you. During this stage I will help you to establish your own personal goals, help you make sense of your difficulties, and help equip you with strategies or techniques for gaining improved coping skills and short-term relief. The first stage is where you can gain a sense of support, connection, clarity, empowerment, encouragement, affirmation, and feeling heard and accepted. This stage can last anywhere from three sessions to three months or more, depending on the individual. Someone who has never had a positive relationship before will understandably require much more time to feel safe and trust in the process and myself.
The second stage of counseling involves an ongoing effort on the client's behalf. This is where ideas and strategies are put to the test and the rubber meets the road so to speak. Continued utilization of new techniques and game plans are required for reducing anxiety, depressive symptoms, managing mood, developing emotional capacities, processing painful or challenging experiences including thoughts and emotions, and improving coping abilities. Stage two is where old habits, negative behavioral cycles, and self-defeating thoughts change. Communication and interpersonal relationships start to improve as well as an increased capacity for self-understanding. Realistically, this stage lasts anywhere from session six to two or more years. Desire, motivation, resilancy, self-reflective capacties, and support in one's own environment are major factors that come into play regarding this time frame.
Lastly, the third stage involves a crystalization of the gains made and future planning for continued growth and improvement. All of the effort and committment to change leads to this stage where a person can now access an improved mastery of themselves and is equipped to face future struggles with confidence and resolve. New dreams and life goals can be created and seen as possible now, where before, only pain, fear, and defeat existed.
Ultimately, you know yourself the best, and are the determining factor in your therapy. It begins and ends when you want it to. The saying "you get out of it what you put into it" is quite accurate. Sessions typically last 53 minutes once a week, unless a greater need exists for more.