Counseling Survival Guide

We all know that counseling is a necessary and ultimately rewarding and beneficial experience for many people… but it can be stressful and emotional in the process of working through those issues that brought you into treatment. Here are a few suggestions to help eliminate those “roadblocks” and to make your experience in counseling a smoother and more successful process!

  • Paperwork: Before your initial session, download and complete all forms ahead of time and give to your counselor upon arrival (If you have any questions, hold off and wait until you meet with your counselor). This way we can hit the ground running and get started on the important stuff right away! (Download your necessary forms here)
  • Get to Know your Counselor: Take a few minutes to learn about your counselor. We want you to feel comfortable with your counselor right from the get go and encourage all our clients to review their counselors biographies prior to the initial session. This will provide an opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with your counselors education, licensure and experience (along with a little snapshot of some of their personal interests and hobbies!). In most cases, you will also be have an opportunity to touch bases with your counselor prior to the initial session. Feel free to ask any questions that you still have at that time. We understand this is an important decision and encourage you to be as well informed as possible starting your experience with us!
  • “Motivation!”: Only come in for counseling if YOU believe you need it! Sometimes it takes another person, often someone that we trust and respect, to help us recognize the need for counseling. This is fine, and for many, necessary. Don’t start counseling to pacify another person. If you don’t believe you have anything to fix you won’t be invested in fixing it!
  • “Attitude!”: It is important that you have the right frame of mind coming into counseling. If you believe it will fail before it has even started, it almost certainly will! We understand that it can be scary talking with a stranger about personal issues that you may not have even told your closest friend or family member about, but try to have an open mind and be a positive as you can. We are good people, who genuinely care and will work hard to help you overcome those issues that brought you into treatment.
  • Attendance: After your initial session, you and your counselor will decide how often you need to be coming in for treatment. This is dependent on a number of factors, most important of which is your clinical needs. Regardless of whether you need to be in treatment three times a week or once a month it is critically important that you don’t miss your sessions. It is difficult to make progress toward your treatment goals if you are not in treatment!
  • Ownership: One of the biggest “make or break” issues in the counseling process for the majority of clients is their ability to take ownership and responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Don’t hold back! As scary as it can be admitting your are wrong, or sharing all those thoughts and feelings that you have kept inside for so long, clients almost always find it to be a liberating experience. Take a risk. Your counselor will not judge you and it will significantly increase your chances of having a successful counseling experience.
  • Homework: You will meet with your counselor on average anywhere between 135 minutes a week to 45 minutes a month! It goes without saying that you will have more time out of counseling than in it. What you do out of treatment with the information that you learned in it will play a huge role in determining how successful the overall process will be for you. It is very important that you complete all homework assignments that you are given within the time frame that you and your counselor agree upon. Don’t worry… you will not be graded!