Frequently asked questions about counseling
How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?
Finding a therapist who is the right fit for you is completely unique. Who your doctor recommends or who your sister loved might be different than the counselor who is going to help you create the change you need. The process of counseling is a precious investment of your time and energy, and being with a good match is important. I strive to provide as much of a window into me as a therapist on this website so you can begin to get a feel for me and how it might feel to have a conversation with me. It’s why I also encourage you to use the initial phone consultation to gather more information to help in your decision.
I strive to build a warm, safe relationship where you can unpack a lot of thoughts and feelings you have been carrying. It is my responsibility to earn your trust and for you to continuously experience a non-judgmental, accepting reaction. I don’t “have the answers” (once Amazon starts selling crystal balls, then I might, but until then, my role is just to help you find your own answers). I can also share with you that I’m fairly active in sessions (which means I am giving you feedback, offering suggestions, and actively reflecting on our process).
What will our first session with you be like?
I remind myself and my clients all the time that counseling is a process. While many clients begin to feel better from the first session (once you are certain you’re on the path to change, there can be energy, optimism and hope that before seemed elusive), long lasting meaningful change will unfold over time. I always invite clients to begin sharing what is most important to give attention to right now. By the time most individuals arrive at counseling, you’ve been contemplating for some time and there is urgency around a specific need. So you guide what gets our attention, and that remains true in every session. The first session might cover a range of areas that we begin to prioritize over time. Hopefully by the end of the first session we both have clarity around your goals of therapy, which will include developing a picture of how we will know when our time together is completed (though this may change over time as a result of the process!).
How often will we meet?
You’ll always meet weekly with your counselor. Occasionally people ask to meet on an every other week basis. While each client’s needs are unique, I find therapy to be most effective when we commit to weekly counseling sessions (at least to begin). The rate of change tends to be much faster for individuals who engage in consistent weekly sessions.
But I have a lot of responsibilities in my life that will make it hard for me to get to counseling once a week. Can’t we do it less often?
Many of the women I see in my counseling office do a tremendous job taking care of everyone else. Kids get to weekly activities and lessons as well as regular doctor’s appointments. The lunches are packed daily, the dinners prepared, too. And if you’re working outside of the home, work deadlines are always met and somehow you find the time to fulfill those projects.
Counseling goals are unique, but for many women I see, learning to prioritize your self-care is a current challenge but one we can work on and starts with the commitment to this process (I will help!).
I do offer phone / distance sessions once counseling has been established as this flexibility helps when kids might be sick or you’re traveling for work. Also, babies are welcome in session as long as we feel it doesn’t take away from your experience.
How long will counseling take?
Counseling is not one size fits all. Duration of counseling depends on your current needs, your goals, and your effort to practice what you’re working on in your daily life. In our sessions, we are consistently checking on progress to goals and if this process is being effective for you. (Hopefully it is, but if it’s not, we will cooperatively discuss what opportunity we each have to do something differently, or if an additional resource or such might be valuable for you).
Once you reach your goals, we will cooperatively decide whether to start the process of saying goodbye or focus on new goals. Counseling for your mental health is a little bit like exercise for your physical health. Just because you “get healthy” doesn’t mean you stop exercising. Sometimes counseling is like that; before we complete counseling, we identify other mental health supporting habits you take with you and integrate into your daily life.
Have more questions? Call to discuss them: 732-977-0375