What’s individual counseling all about?
Fundamentally, individual sessions provide you with a private and professional environment to solve a problem. Private in every sense of the word – your conversation is private, and your records are, too. As licensed independent mental health practitioner, I’m bound by Federal regulations and Nebraska laws to protect your privacy. Professional relationships reflect the intention to serve your needs and goals in a protected and uninterrupted environment – one that is different than a friendship or advice from a one-size-fits-all self-help source.
Entire libraries, vast numbers of websites, and sections of bookstores are devoted to the task of choosing and benefitting from psychotherapy and the trained professionals who provide it. The Google search on ‘choose a therapist’ I performed a moment ago yielded nearly 50 million selections for your review. Too much to absorb in a lifetime!
I’d have to say that there are practical matters and esoteric elements to consider.
These days, most everyone wants to use insurance benefits, wants to be seen at a convenient time, and wants to avoid long commutes to the therapist’s office. Your insurance company, online directories, and Web-based/mobile-based mapping services can sort those elements out in short order. At my office, we also have trained staff who can answer questions about schedules, billing, and pretty much any other question with just one call to us. We love to answer those questions! The office is just blocks from 132nd and West Center Rd. Lastly, I have both evening and Saturday morning appointment times.
Each therapist brings a unique collection of life experiences, training, education, and professional practice to his or her work. There is no therapist factory stamping out therapists on an assembly line. And, as far as we can tell, there is no app you can download that will totally replace the valuable experience of sitting down – face-to-face – with another person whose presence in the room is specifically dedicated to promoting your expression of your thoughts, worries, losses, fears, and dreams.
Over time, if you can experience a sense of being understood, being heard, being respected and valued, you’re likely in the right office. Your therapist, too, should be a person who supports wellness, coordinates when needed with other healthcare professionals in your life, and can help you understand the plan for working through your issues and concerns. I strive to understand and respond to your needs.
Here is where individual style comes into play. [Have you ever gone to an art fair or an art museum? Think about all of the styles you saw. Warhol – Pollock – Wood – Picasso. So different from one another!] There may be common elements to all therapy, but each therapist brings a unique stance to sessions with you.
Some therapists might be quiet and reflective. Others might be interactive and chatty. Of course, your therapist will likely shift gears across the spectrum of quiet – interactive, depending on your specific needs at the moment.
Overall, your therapist will want to make sure that you are safe, that you are following medication or other treatment recommendations from your medical providers, will want to know if there are major changes since the last session, and will want to know if there are specific needs for focus at the current session.
People come to talk about issues, conflicts, unsolved problems, and troubling symptoms of depression, anxiety and the like. Virtually any element of human experience that yields pain, suffering, loss of pleasure, or the avoidance of some aspect of life. Family life – school – work – relationships. We’re ready to talk about any and all of these topics.
As I work through a session with you, I work hard to understand your perspective, barriers to change, and available resources for you. We will likely set out to examine your options, help you select a course of action, and identify any likely roadblocks. Hopefully, by the end of a session, we have identified and gained your commitment to action. That’s actually a lot to accomplish in a span of time around 45 or 50 minutes, don’t you think?
How long is this going to take?
That is often the toughest question to answer! Generally, a well-defined issue with a short history will be tackled in a handful of sessions. Conversely, complex and long-standing issues might need deep commitment to sort out properly. We’ll collaborate on a plan that works for you.