We know getting started with a new therapist or counsellor can come with its own set of apprehensions. So, we've outlined some helpful tips that will allow you to feel comfortable and ready to work with us.
This guide is meant to help you get the best out of counselling and the work you'll do on your own between sessions.
Counselling works best when you have clearly defined goals. Think about the things you want to improve in your life and your relationships, including your relationship with yourself. If your goals are clearly defined, you and your counsellor will be able to quickly collaborate on strategies and begin to make progress. Your goals may evolve over time; that's okay and expected.
Action Step: write your goals down and bring them to your session.
A great way to track your goals and progress is through journaling, whether in print or audio. Your journal entries are great for your own reflection, and can also help you decide the things you want to share with your counsellor.
There could be times when you show up to a session and the things you want to work on won't be top of mind depending on how your day went. Tracking makes it easier to keep momentum from previous sessions.
Focus on Inner Relationship
As you work through your issues, relationships are bound to come to the surface. Talking through those situations can be valuable at the beginning of your therapeutic journey.
To make progress in those areas, gaining the tools to adjust your perspective and focus inward and learn how you respond to challenges is a part of the work. Inner work gives space for you to find the resources to make the changes you want and become increasingly resilient.
So even if interactions are contributing to your issues, focusing on how you can respond to that person will likely be the most effective strategy for relieving your distress. In couples counselling, couples in which each partner considers things they can do differently, rather than what the other person should do, to improve the relationship make the best progress.
Focus on Process
The only thing we, as individuals, can control are our actions. Progress relies on process, so when we focus on process instead of outcomes leads to the best progress. The skills you'll learn and apply through counselling are what you should practice and focus on implementing in your life in order to make progress.
When you master these skills, methods and tools, you can practice and utilize them in your life beyond (and between) your therapy sessions.
Reminder: focus on ‘doing the work’ and be careful not to get fixated on results.
A part of your inner work is identifying themes and patterns that show up in your life. We'll use our sessions to connect the dots between events and understand how the patterns in your personality and your responses affect your well-being.
Taking the time to search for a deeper understanding of how you operate in different circumstances will set the foundation for you to be empowered to make the transformations you desire.
Work that leads to lasting improvement is action and solutions focused. In sessions and your daily life, consider the type of language you use to describe yourself and your situations. Are you ruminating and venting about the problem, or shifting your energy to implement solutions?
We'll work collaboratively with you to keep you engaged in talk that pinpoints taking action, learning skills and problem-solving.
Bringing Your Whole Self
Our approach to counselling is built on compassion and creating a safe space for you to be open and confident enough to bring the different parts of your personality and all the emotions you feel to your sessions.
At times you may feel like you need to hide some parts of yourself in life and in session. Through reflection and mindfulness you can include those harder to face parts of yourself in your therapeutic work instead of denying them.
Be willing to notice which parts of yourself you try to avoid and embrace curiosity about them without letting your emotions get out of control or overwhelm you.
New Skills and Ideas
In our practice, we also focus on strength building. We encourage you to be open to trying new things, figuring out what actually works for you in practice.
Are there any mindsets and ways of being that you are holding on to or want to change but can't find the ways to discard?
Seeking professional mental wellness support likely means you're ready to try something new to make the change you hope for, keep that top of mind during your sessions.
Utilizing Your Support Network
Do you have strong supportive family and friends? For some clients, sharing breakthroughs and progress from their therapy with key people on their support network helps them stay on track.
Those close to you can be the accountability and support partners that help you thrive outside of sessions.
Healing, coping, and progress are not linear. Progress in addressing your issues doesn't mean you won't experience stressful or bad days.
Temporary diversions or interruptions does not negate the progress you have made. The key is to focus your energies, with the help of your counsellor, with continuing progress and making it through the peaks and valleys of healing.
Seek Opportunities for Growth
Triggers and challenges can be opportunities for growth. As we idenitfy patterns, we'll also identify triggers. As you gain confidence in using the tools learned in counselling, you'll be better armed to respond differently to triggers.
Challenging situations can become more manageable as you build resilience, practice skills and grow.
Working Outside of Sessions
Applying skills leads to progress. Be ready to become actively involved in doing work so you can make the best progress.
We will work with you to make sure that the work we lay out in your therapeutic plan is tailored to your personality and achievable for you.