One common, understandable complaint I hear about therapy is that people often don’t know what they’re supposed to do, especially if it’s a first-ever appointment. The process of therapy seems sometimes like a mystery: You meet a stranger. You enter their office. They close the door. Then what?
I wish more people would ask these questions.
In my years as a Vancouver-based counsellor, I’ve come to a few conclusions about client characteristics and actions which work well with my particular therapy style and approach. If you meet most of these, the odds of us working well together are increased:
- You are ready for counselling and ready for change. Whether you’ve waited 15 minutes or 50 years, you know that this is something that you want to try, even if it’s uncomfortable to begin with.
- You are seeking a safe environment to talk about your concerns, without fear of judgement or discrimination. Being open can be incredibly difficult, yet you see this as an important step in allowing me to help you fully.
- You value a ‘team approach.’ You want a counsellor who will collaborate with you throughout the entire counselling process. You value a professional opinion and you also recognize the importance of your voice in the therapy. My philosophy is to “help you help yourself.”
- You want to get the most out of your therapy. You come to each session with what you want to discuss, having thought about it beforehand. You may even take notes in the session. You are open to ‘homework’ outside of the session but you will speak up if you’re not. You think about what we’ve discussed in session at moments during the week.
- You can commit to attending sessions on a regular basis. You are realistic with yourself if you cannot at this time.
- You consider counselling to be an investment in yourself that will have long-term dividends.
- You appreciate and are open to being respectfully challenged, if and when it seems good for me to do so. You appreciate feedback and are seeking alternative ways of approaching issues.
- You are willing, even if this doesn’t come easily for you, to give me feedback about what has worked and not worked with each session. I give you a session rating scale to help structure this process; your role is to answer it honestly.
- On a deeper level, you want your life to be different. This desire motivates your therapy.
If you see yourself in these qualities, I invite you to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to help you confirm whether we would work well together.
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