Starting counseling for the first time can seem overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start. People seek out counseling for many different reasons, and therefore, it can look different for everyone. Because of this, there is no clear cut way to get the most out of your sessions. However, we created this guide to help lead you through finding how counseling can work best for you.
Figure Out What You Need
Before diving into sessions, lay out what you are hoping to get out of them. You can go over your reasons with a close friend or simply write them down. This will especially help you get more out of your initial sessions with a counselor and possibly save you a few sessions of figuring this out. Always remember that your reasons for going to counseling may change over time, and you are not locked in to only going over what you first wrote down. It is good for your reasons to evolve, and a good counselor will embrace this. Continue to check in with yourself and what you are trying to get out of counseling to make the most out of your appointments.
Understand What Works Best for You
Not everyone is going to respond to therapy the same way. While talking to friends and family, keep in my mind that what has worked well for them, might not work well for you. Some people do better when the counselor is more engaging and teaching specific skills while others do better when the counselor is more passive. When looking for a counselor, make sure to ask about their methods during your initial consultation. Many counselors, such as those at Central Park Counseling, offer free consultation sessions. Discuss what you are looking for, and find a counselor whose method aligns with this. Be patient, as it may take a while before figuring out what style of counseling works best for you.
Don’t Hold Back
At your first counseling sessions, you may worry about being polite or are unsure about how to act during them. Worrying too much about being polite and not saying what’s on your mind can hinder any progress. Remember that your counselor is there to help you, not to judge you. They want you to open up and this should feel like a safe space for you. If after multiple sessions with your counselor, you still do not feel comfortable, you may want to consider other counselors. Also keep in mind that it can take time and should gradually feel more comfortable as your sessions progress. If you find yourself continually holding back, bring this up in a session and maybe you and your counselor can uncover why that is happening. Being a good patient also takes practice. Make sure to come to sessions ready to engage in the process to get the most out of them.
Keep an Open Mind
It is normal to come into counseling sessions at least a little skeptical. Being present in sessions and believing in the process is the only way that they can work for you. Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer to see results than you expected as good counseling can take time.
If you are just starting your search for a good counselor, the internet can be a good place to start. Searching counselors and where you are looking to attend appointments will give you a good list to initially go through. For example, searching “Colorado Spring Counseling,” will show ones in your area along with reviews and detailed information about their practice. While searching for counselors, keep in mind what you are looking to get out of to find the best one to start your counseling journey with.