After a new client has contacted me, and prior to booking an initial session, I will be in touch to arrange a 15-minute consultation to help ensure that we are a good therapeutic fit. Consultations are available by phone or in-person. I love welcoming new clients to my practice and responding to their questions!
We discuss what has brought you to counselling in more detail and find out what is important to you in coming for counselling. I seek to work with you on understanding the issues from multiple angles so that we can ultimately choose interventions that match your specific needs and circumstances.
Assessing the therapeutic fit at this juncture is critical. Do you feel heard, understood and respected? Are we on the same page? Do you feel comfortable proceeding to session 2?
If you and your partner are here for couples counselling, we look in depth at the history of your relationship, your ups and downs and your goals. Please see my couples page for more detailed information about my specific structure for couples sessions.
Much of what happens in the second session is to further define the goals that were set out in session one and collaborate on a plan of action. We will likely discuss additional details about your situation so that our interventions can become even more specific. This is balanced with an exploration of your thoughts and feelings. Working through these thoughts and feelings, at a pace you’re comfortable with, helps to clarify where we need to go, where to focus, and can be a significant release—and relief. I may assign some things to work on before your next session.
We continue to revise your goals as you make progress in therapy. You are asked at the start of the session what you wish to discuss and what you need from each session. Most of my clients choose to complete an Outcome Rating Scale at the beginning of each session so we can assess progress, and later, complete a Session Rating Scale we check on your experience of the session each time.
We dialogue about whether you are seeking therapeutic homework in between sessions, as each person’s needs are different. Therapeutic ‘assignments’ often become more tailored over time, the better I understand you and your needs.
Sometimes clients think that they cannot have a conversation with their counsellor about ending therapy. This is not true! A primary goal of counselling is to develop the confidence and skills to navigate life’s challenges—or at least the challenges that brought you to counselling. This doesn’t mean that you don’t ever seek support—in fact, I hope you do—but that you feel comfortable making decisions that benefit you and your situation and that you’re clear on what your options and choices are.
Ideally we have a conversation about winding things down so that we can review your progress and discuss a plan for moving forward on your own successfully.
People often ask, “How often do I need to come for therapy?” To help you determine this, it is important to keep in mind: your current situation, your goals, and the rate of change you are seeking. I offer several frequency options to help you make the choice that is right for you.
I am also happy to make a specific recommendation for you or collaborate with you on other frequency options that you feel would work better.
Ideal for people currently in crisis who require intense, immediate attention. Two sessions per week. Intensive therapy is dependent on scheduling availability.
Opportunity to make solid gains and meet your therapy goals. One session a week. Choose between 50, 75 or 25-minute session format, depending on availability.
Designed for people who are seeking to maintain gains made in therapy and /or begin to explore goals more independently. One session every two weeks. Choose between 75, 50 or 25-minute sessions.
One session every 3-4 weeks. Outstanding concerns benefit from some focused, regular attention but such concerns not all-consuming; you are doing well in most other life areas. Choose between 75, 50 or 25-minute sessions.
Almost all goals have been reached but you may have a concern about maintenance over the long term. Typical counselling schedules in this category are one session every 6 weeks or one session every 3 months. Choose between 75, 50 or 25-minute sessions, depending on availability. 75-minute sessions in this category are most popular as a longer time has elapsed between sessions.