Over the next series of posts, I want to introduce you to how I approach the different stages of therapy in my practice –  from the free initial consultation to ending the therapeutic relationship. 

The first time I meet with someone, it is typically for a free 20 minute initial consultation.  I offer the free initial consultation to all potential clients because I believe that it is important for you to choose who you want to work with when you start this process (you also have the option to schedule a full paid session if you prefer).  The free initial consultation provides you with the opportunity to ask questions, meet me, learn about my services, and decide if you think I am the right therapist for you and your situation before you answer questions about why you are seeking counseling, how the current problem is impacting your life, your goals of therapy, and your history (which takes place during the first session – stay tuned for my next post!).

There are many benefits to the free initial consultation.  Most importantly, studies have shown that the therapeutic relationship is the most healing and effective aspect of therapy, which means finding the right therapist is critical to a successful therapeutic outcome.  I also like that the initial consultation provides us the opportunity to meet and determine fit with no financial obligation and no paperwork to fill out.  I believe that this frees you, as the potential client, of any feelings of obligation to follow through with therapy because you have already made an investment – even if it’s not the right fit.  During the initial consultation, you can confidentially share as much or as little information as you feel comfortable disclosing.  The initial consultation is also an opportunity for me to decide as the therapist if I am the right fit for you – meaning can I help you with problem or issue for which you are seeking therapy?  If not, I will connect with someone who can.

Therapy is important and challenging work and it is important that you, as the client, feel that the therapist you choose to work with is the right fit.  Questions to consider when evaluating therapeutic fit include:

  • Do I feel safe and comfortable in the therapist’s office space and presence?
  • Do I feel like I can talk to him/her about the issues and/or problems for which I am seeking counseling?  (Keep in mind that it takes time to build trust and this is part of the therapeutic process)
  • Is the therapist available during the days/times I wish to meet?
  • If you are looking for a particular type of therapy or specialty – does he/she offer it?
  • Can I afford the therapist’s fee?

These are just some of the questions that can be helpful to ask when making the important and courageous decision to enter therapy.  Beginning the therapeutic process mindfully and with the knowledge that you chose the right therapist for you is a great first step towards living the life you want to live.

Are you currently looking for a therapist?  To schedule a free initial consultation, contact me today at catherine@embracestrengthcounseling or visit my website for more information about my services.

Curious about what the first session will look like?  Stay tuned for my second post on the stages of therapy!

Welcome photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net