The term 'counseling' or 'psychotherapy' can conjure up various images and interpretations from what we have seen on tv or movies. We often have little understanding of counseling, because by definition, it is a private matter and often not talked openly about with friends and family. However, people will often describe their own personal awareness for when the time comes to enter into counseling. Making a phone call to begin talking about the past or a current life transition is a commitment to yourself and investment in your future. If we become stuck in patterns or emotional distress it becomes challenging to live in a fulfilling way. Depression, anxiety, grief, and relationship stress are common topics that lead a person toward seeking confidential psychotherapy.
There are different modalities of therapy and this will be discussed in your initial session. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an example of an evidenced-based practice in which we identify and challenge ways of thinking that keep people cycling in patterns or relationships that are unfulfilling. This way of thinking may have served a purpose at some point in time, but may no longer be effective. Some modalities encourage practice of new skills between sessions.
Counseling is not only a form of support, but an opportunity to gain insight into why we may make various decisions, feel certain feelings, and process events and experiences in order to keep growing in our life journey. We learn new strategies that lead to feeling more productive and engaged in our lives. It is true that the work of psychotherapy can trigger moments of uncomfortable feelings that are processed in sessions. Part of creating change, and processing emotions, is talking about such experiences so that they have less power in our daily living.
In the beginning, it is encouraged that individuals be open to participating in counseling on a weekly basis. Your goals and progress will be regularly discussed as a means of determining the length of time in counseling. On average, individuals participate in counseling from 3 months- 1 year based on symptoms.
Counseling sessions are typically 50 minutes. If you desire an extended session, this may be arranged in advance.