The Counseling Process
The counseling process is, most simply, about relationship. It is about two people meeting together in a safe space to wrestle with and overcome those areas in a client's life that hinder him or her from being who he or she was created to be. Each individual brings valuable qualities to the relationship. The counselor offers his or her own unique personality and genuine presence as well as wisdom and knowledge developed through personal and professional experiences. The client brings a courageous willingness to grapple with the struggles and messiness of life and move towards growth and wholeness. Together, the counseling process is about the shared experience of humanity and the healing that can take place in the context of relationship.
Just like fences are meant to keep us safe, boundaries (or particular guidelines) in relationships are also necessary and serve to protect the relationship and those individuals inside.
- Counselors commit to respecting a client's confidentiality (or privacy) at all times, except when the wellbeing of the client or another is in danger. These notable exceptions are clearly discussed at the beginning and throughout the counseling process.
- To honor confidentiality, counselors and clients are unable to engage in social media relationships (like Facebook friends) or develop close relationships outside of counseling.
- Counselors are responsible to clearly communicate their availability to clients and the best method(s) for communication. In turn, it is important for clients to honor and respect counselor availability as these boundaries are meant to establish valuable time for family, friends, and self (for both counselor and client).
- While not the primary focus, it is helpful to remember that the counseling relationship is an investment for both parties. As such, the transaction (or exchange) of money for the counselor's clinical expertise must occur each session.
Learning more about the counseling process is the first step towards healing. Here are some next steps to consider:
1. Continue exploring this website to determine if I may be a good counselor fit for you.
2. Please feel free to contact me by phone at (410) 417-7464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss:
- The reason(s) you are interested in counseling
- Any basic questions you may have about the process
- Applicable insurance information
- Scheduling an initial session, if you would like
4. When we meet for the initial session, we will:
- Review initial paperwork and discuss confidentiality and HIPAA related material
- Discuss your current symptoms and concerns, life experiences, family dynamics, etc. to help me better respectfully understand those factors that have shaped you into the person I am meeting with today *
- Address questions you may have about my practice as you continue to explore the counseling process and consider the counselor-client fit
- Develop purposeful goals to be addressed through counseling, and
- Discuss scheduling for future sessions, if we decide to continue working together
*Please note: While this is material that we discuss throughout the counseling process, I do ask quite a few questions during the initial session. Sometimes, clients and I mutually agree to gather this initial information over a few sessions if the material is particularly challenging to the client.