What will my first counseling appointment be like?

If you’ve never seen a counselor before, you may be apprehensive about what to expect and what you’ll be expected to do.

First, relax. You’re coming into a friendly environment that’s really all about you. You and the counselor will sit down in a comfortable office together. There may be a couch, but nobody expects you to lay down like you’ve seen in old movies. Instead, you and the counselor will sit across from each other and carry on a conversation.

What’s that conversation about? Well, we’ll probably begin by asking how you heard about Care to Change and what made you decide to contact us. We’ll ask some more questions about your situation and your life. The counselor will want to know about any steps you’ve taken to address the issues you’ve mentioned, and how well they may have worked. Then you’ll probably be asked about your goals for counseling.

There are some things you should know. First, your conversations with the counselor are completely confidential. The law and our professional ethics ensure that we won’t share what you discuss. In fact, we’ll ask you to sign a document that explains our standards for privacy and confidentiality. (We are legally required to report any suspected abuse or neglect of children or other adults to local and state authorities, and to take action if we believe you are at risk of harming yourself or another person.)

Second, there’s no single answer about how many appointments you’ll need. Everyone’s situation and needs are different, and there’s no magic 5- or 10-step plan. Your counselor should be able to give you some idea of what to expect, and what the objectives of your next few appointments will be.

Third, your counselor will probably give you some “homework” between appointments. That doesn’t mean you’ll fill out worksheets or take a test. Instead, that homework may involve reading an article or book that may be helpful, or perhaps journaling will be included. We might also suggest and interaction of some sort with other people in your life. At your next appointment, your counselor will ask you about your homework and move on from there. Healing and wholeness takes one step at a time.

Finally, there is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed about being here. Your counselor isn’t going to think bad things about you. Actually, the fact that you’ve chosen to enter counseling says good things about your character and courage. Your counselor’s job is to help you live the life you were meant to live — we are simply catalysts that help you move forward, find hope and make the change you want.

Feel free to review our frequently ask questions page, or read about our professionals. You are also welcome to come tour the facility and talk with a staff member before making an appointment, too. We are here to serve you. It’s our honor to be a part of your life.

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