Welcome to my practice. This is an opportunity to acquaint you with important information. Please read it carefully. You may jot down your questions, and we will discuss this document in the next session. When you sign this document, it will represent an agreement between us.
The Nature and Purpose of Personal and Career Counseling
Counseling offers you a time you take uniquely for yourself. Maybe you could call it a "me-time". It is a time in which to understand and know yourself better and improve your life's quality - an opportunity to grow. Counseling aims to increase your happiness and to support your overall health.
What You May Expect From the Process
Counseling can be a rewarding process. It is a time for you to explore yourself and gain greater self-awareness and self-knowledge to cope more effectively with specific problems and challenges in daily living. It's very important for me that we work as a team, collaboratively. You choose what you want to work on; I will help you to clarify and set your goals. Knowing what you want specifically can be very motivating and allows you to break your goals into realistic, encouraging steps. You came to me to solve problems, things you are struggling with. As much as it is critical to gain an understanding about your past and why you haven't been able to solve your issues, I will also focus with you on times you were able to solve problems, identifying your strengths and resources. Techniques I might use include asking you questions to prompt you seeing things in new ways and allowing you time to deeply experience your feelings. You may also benefit from more cognitive tools such as the decision making table, and worksheets and inventories to assess life happiness, work satisfaction, strengths, skills, interests, and personality. Sometimes we need everyday reminders to stop negative internal dialogue or self-defeating behaviors. Various techniques (e.g., power sentences, visualizations, pocket/kitchen table cards) may help you to develop thinking and behaviors that are healthy, positive and effective.
The counseling and change process can also be quite challenging. It demands your openness, courage, trust and curiosity, to try new things and to allow your feelings to arise. Some of those feelings may be quite unexpected, unwanted and uncomfortable to experience. Life is an adventure with challenges, as is counseling. The good news is that you can make your life exciting, rich, and meaningful. I will do my best to support you on your journey.
Responsibilities of the Client and Counselor
Studies show that effective counseling depends primarily on the client-counselor relationship. I want you to feel safe and free with me. I am not here to judge you but to empathize with you, try to understand you, and help you to understand yourself better. My job isn't to tell you what to do, but to ask, "How's that choice working for you?" If the answer is less than optimal, we can explore changes leading to the most authentic and desired outcomes for your life. You are the expert on your life. I offer useful techniques, expertise in the therapeutic process, and a safe environment in which to explore yourself. It is very important to me that we feel we are a good fit. If we have concerns about that, let's talk about it. We might find better ways to serve you, and I can provide referrals to other professionals.
My Theoretical Approach
The following are the three primary theories that I return to again and again.
Person-centered: I see the positive in a person and believe that we have good reasons for our
behavior, even things that are unhealthy or "bad". Everyone naturally strives to learn, grow, and
become the best version of themselves, to reach one's potential. Also, I believe that everyone is
unique and has a unique worldview. As a helper I attempt to see the world as you see it.
Existential: It is an essential human characteristic that we seek meaning in our lives. We have the
responsibility for our life, the freedom to make choices (often more than we think) and create a life
that is in accordance with our beliefs, values, interests, personality and strengths.
Solution-focused: This approach is very goal- and future-oriented and very practical. It conveys the
belief that small changes can make a huge difference and that not all problems need months or
years to work on. Problems can be solved within a short time. This approach is positive since it
focuses on your strengths and resources, utilizing them to find your unique solutions.