Counseling Session

A Typical Counseling Session

Our first contact may be by phone or email, and at that time we can set up an appointment for a counseling session at my Mansfield Center therapy practice.

When it is time for your counseling session to begin, I will come out to the waiting room to greet you and welcome you into my office. If it is our first session and we have just met, I will ask you for some basic information, such as your name, address, and means of contacting you. I will also hand you a short agreement form and will go over the contents of the form with you, answering any questions you may have, before asking you to sign it. Because I prefer to spend the time talking with you and getting a clear picture of what has brought you to therapy, I keep the paperwork in the first session to a minimum. Instead of asking you a lot of “form questions,“ I will give you an intake form and a longer agreement form to complete at home and bring back to your next counseling session.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a client in therapy. Please do not try to rehearse how or what you want to say when you come in. If you feel confused and as though you are “jumping all over the place,” that’s normal. I believe that everyone has a story that needs telling. I will listen to you respectfully and without judgment. I might ask an occasional question for clarification, or check in with an occasional comment to be sure that I am hearing your story the way you mean for me to hear it. Sometimes you may pause, and we will sit in silence for a time. In this way therapy differs from social conversation, where one person begins to speak when another stops. The value of silences in therapy is that they provide the opportunity for us to reflect on what has just been said. As we continue to work together and I begin to understand more about your history and your current life, when it is appropriate I will try to help you to make connections between the past and the present to increase your self-awareness.

If the issue you bring to counseling lends itself to cognitive therapy, my approach will be more directive, and you will find that I will talk more. Cognitive work would involve my teaching you concrete skills to help you manage depression, anxiety, relationship problems, or whatever is causing difficulty in your life.

When it is time for your session to end, I will let you know by simply saying, “We do need to end now.” If you have been talking about difficult things, I will check in with you to see how you are feeling, and I might even suggest that you stop somewhere for a cup of tea before going home. It’s important to take care of yourself, particularly if you have opened yourself up to vulnerable feelings in a session.

Before you leave the session we will confirm your next appointment time. I usually schedule one 50-minute session per week, although some sessions may be longer or more or less frequent. I will ask you to pay for each session at the time it is held. I suggest that you write your check out prior to each session so that we do not use valuable session time for this purpose.

On average, my clients stay in therapy for one year. Some feel better much sooner, and some continue to see me for much longer. The length of time it will take for you to feel better varies depending on your temperament and the particular issues you bring forward. Please keep in mind that a therapy session is not like a visit to a medical doctor. It is a process that can take time. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may feel worse before you feel better. In the long run, however, it often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.