Communicating fully is the opposite of being traumatized
— Bessel Van Der Kolk

What is Counseling?

Counseling is an exploration through a person’s deepest pains...griefs...fears...traumas etc.  And the counselor is the guide on the journey.  A counselor’s job is not to change you; but, rather, to create a suitable environment for change to take place.  The basics of this involve creating safety, earning trust, removing obstacles and gaining your confidence.  

With that said, your first couple sessions will be focused on creating refuge, intently listening to your story and working to earn your trust and confidence.  Because we’ve been there ourselves, we know and will be sensitive to the idea that going to a counselor (and sharing your stuff) for the first time can be daunting, to say the least.

You’ve likely had people (maybe even misguided counselors) tell you what needs to change.  And because of our quick-fix culture, a lot of people come into counseling with the mindset that if they do A,B, and C everything will get better.  Follow these 3 easy steps to freedom.  

While steps can be helpful, we believe counseling is much more than advice giving or step completion.  In fact, we believe that unsolicited advice or excessive reliance on tasks is a mishandling of a person’s life story.  Not to mention it can stifle growth and/or damage the therapeutic relationship if its bad advice or unproductive homework.  Again, counseling is a journey of courage, hope and change, not a fastfood fix to your problems.

Our approach to helping you grow is more relaxed and focused.  We spend our time building relationship with you and allowing change to occur on the bedrock of trust, hope and safety.  Many of our therapists use person-centered, narrative or existential therapies.  While these tend to be less direct approaches, this does not mean that your therapist will not be direct when they deem it necessary.  Your recovery and healing is our top priority, not our own comfort!   

Please know that not every counselor works well with everyone. We have strengths and weaknesses like every other professional.  And sometimes it’s just not a good fit.  Please let us know if this is the case and we'll gladly help you find the right fit for you.  

Signs your therapist is not a good fit for you:

  1. You have to constantly repeat important details of your story (forgetting names is one thing; continuously forgetting your important life events is another)  

  2. Your therapist is acting unethically (i.e., crossing boundaries, treating you poorly, etc.)  

  3. Your therapist doesn’t value/appreciate your beliefs (they address situations according to their beliefs and not your belief system)

  4. Your therapist shares too much of his/her personal life with little/to no benefit to you (what they share about themselves should only be used as a tool to teach you a relevant concept)

  5. Your schedules don’t match up

  6. He/she falls asleep during a session

  7. You don’t feel heard, respected or understood (before judging, make certain this is your counselor's issue and not you own leftovers from a broken past)

  8. You don’t feel like you’re making progress (while counseling takes time, there should be clear signs that you're moving in a better direction over time)

  9. You just don’t jive with them

Before you fire your therapist, we ask that you ask yourself a couple questions:

  1. Is this the counselor or is this my issue due to my junk?  (Afterall, we seek therapy because we need help relating to ourselves, others, and the world).

  2. Is this issues something that I don’t feel can be worked through with this particular counselor/therapist?  (It can be very therapeutic to address issues about therapy/your therapists during sessions.  It’s only natural that people bring their stuff into the session, a good therapist will understand this and help you grown through it).  

Finally, there are things your therapist should never do:

1.  Become romantic/sexual with you

2.  Disrespect you or your way of seeing the world

3.  Belittle you or or struggles

4.  Share your stuff with others that are not a part of your recovery team


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