Ten Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Counseling Experience

Ten Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Counseling Experience

The decision to see a counselor during a difficult time in your life is a very wise one.  Common concerns are cost and length of treatment.  But there are others as well.  What does it involve and how do I know if it’s working?  Here are some tips with which you can prepare yourself to get the most out of our counseling sessions and help yourself to feel better soon.

      1. Write Down Your List of Concerns.

        What seems to be the trouble?  When your counselor asks this question, it’s a lot easier to answer if you already have your thoughts organized on paper.  Make a list of the things that are bothering you, and if you have an idea when it began, include the dates.  You can also write down any thoughts or ideas during the session so that you can review them later.

      2. Have a Specific Goal in Mind of What You Want to Accomplish.

        “I want to feel better” is not a specific goal.  Something more like, “I want to be motivated to go to work in the morning” or “I want to be able to have a conversation with my mom without feeling burned” are more appropriate and more helpful.  Your goal needs to be something that you can accomplish independent of other people.  When your goal is to have someone else’s behavior change, as in “I want my husband to pay more attention to me” or “I want my mother to stop nagging me,” be prepared to invite the second party to your counseling sessions.  Those may be your desires, but they shouldn’t be your goals.  Remember, counselors can only help you change how you feel, not how someone else behaves.

      3. Be Open to How Long Counseling May Take.

        You will have a sense of when you feel satisfied with your progress, but don’t rush it.  If you are looking to keep the number of your sessions down due to financial concerns, talk about it with your counselor.  Be proactive in what “homework” the counselor may assign and do the work.  The more work you do outside of our sessions, the more productive they will be.  Problems that we’ve developed over the years are rarely simple with easy, quick fix answers.  So realize that it may take more than just a few sessions to heal from the problem.

      4. Tell Your Counselor the Truth.

        Many times we feel embarrassed by issues we are dealing with, or we don’t want to own our side of the problem.  Counseling is your opportunity to “get out of your mind” meaning: all the thoughts you have bouncing around in your mind finally have a place to go.  In counseling, there is confidentiality, openness and non-judgment. Your counselor will be much better able to help you, if they know your true feelings and concerns.  So tell the counselor how you feel and what you are thinking, especially if you are feeling like the counseling isn’t working for you.  Talk through your concerns and ask for a referral if you feel that you are not being hea