What is Counseling?
At its core, counseling is a chance to talk over whatever is on your mind with a professional, objective person who is trained to listen and help you. Your counselor is someone who can help you learn more constructive ways to deal with the problems or issues in your life.
Counselors can be a source of support for you when you are going through a difficult period in your life, or when you are under increased stress, such as changing careers or experiencing a relationship crisis. They can help you learn new skills and ways of looking at situations so that you will be more capable of solving problems on your own.
Here are some of the commonly shared reasons why people may want to make see a counselor:
- Counselors are non-judgmental, caring, objective, professional, experienced helpers.
- Counselors try to make you comfortable in talking -- they understand and help with your initial anxiety.
- Counseling is often about the concerns and problems shared by most people.
- Lots of people are seeing counselors today for "check ups" to make sure they are "okay".
- All counseling is confidential. No information is released to anyone without written consent.
Getting The Most Out of Counseling
When my clients begin counseling, they often ask what they can do to get the best results in the shortest period of time. Here are some tips I hope you’ll find useful for making your time in counseling successful:
- Choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable
- Try to pinpoint any goals or what you "want" to get from counseling
- Openly share your thoughts and feelings
- Voice your concerns or complaints
- Follow through with homework and recommendations
The Counseling Process
Step 1: Contact Me
Everything begins with the first step. I encourage you to reach out to me through any of the following ways: either call me at 678-999-3390, or email me at Stephanie@CounselingATL.com. Our first conversation is important because I want to ensure that we are a good fit, and that I can help you. If not, I want to help you find a counselor who will suit your needs. I will ask you about why you are interested in counseling, what you hope to achieve through counseling, as well as some basic background questions. You are welcome to ask me any questions, too!
Step 2: Register as a new client
Once you are a registered client, I will allow you to schedule online through the online client portal; there, you will be able view my calendar. Select one of my available appointments, click to “reserve” that session, and then select what type of counseling session you prefer (in-person or online). You will be prompted to complete the initial paperwork (Step 3). You will receive an email later when I have confirmed each session request.
Step 3: Complete Initial Paperwork
After our first email or phone conversation, you will need to complete the initial paperwork. When you visit the online client portal, you will create a username, password, and profile. You will be asked to read and agree to my policies (privacy statement, professional disclosure, payment agreement) and then complete the initial intake form, which takes approximately 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Step 4: Our First Appointment
Our first appointment is an opportunity for you and me to meet each other (in-person or online) and gather more information about you and your needs. During our first session, your job will be to tell your story as openly as you can and to decide if I am a good fit for you. We’ll finish by discussing whether we want to work together, and if so, to develop a plan.
Step 5: After The First Appointment
Counseling can be brief or long term, depending on your concerns. During the first appointment, I will make recommendations about duration of treatment. For example, some people only want to come to see me for a one-session "check up" or "consultation", just to see what a trained professional has to say. More often, however, my clients continue to see me after the first session, with weekly sessions over several months. Several clients have seen me for years. All of my clients know that unless otherwise directed, they are welcome to see me for a period of time, stop for a while, and then re-initiate therapy at a later time if they need it.