What to Expect
Taking the first step to reach out to a therapist can be the hardest. You may feel nervous or apprehensive. Once you have contacted me, I will personally get back to you within 2 business days.
Once we are in touch, we will set up a time for a free 15-20 minute phone consultation appointment. The phone consultation is meant for us to get to know a little bit about each other. I'll ask you some questions about what you've been experiencing and you'll ask me some questions about how I do my work or about logistics (i.e., appointment slots available, payment). If my approach is right for you and I have the training and skills to address your particular needs, we will schedule our first appointment together.
Your first appointment, like all other appointments, will be 50 minutes in length. By the initial appointment we will already have spoken on the phone, so hopefully you will be a bit more comfortable. However, some folks find the first therapy session to be a daunting and sometimes nerve-racking experience. This is totally normal!
During the first session, we will go over new client paperwork which should take about 10 minutes. We will then spend the remainder of the first session talking about some things you may currently be experiencing, as well as talking about some of your history. The initial session is meant to be an overview of you, basically helping me understand what's working and what's not working for you currently. So, in the first session, we may not go as in-depth about certain topics as you'll want to in later sessions.
Depending on you and your experiences, we may need additional sessions to go over some of your history before we formulate a plan to address your concerns. However, you'll find that sessions after the initial session will be focused much more directly on what's bringing you in for therapy.
My approach to individual therapy is to first develop a strong therapeutic relationship. What it takes to develop such a therapeutic relationship looks different for each client, but always includes my best attempt at connecting with you authentically and non-judgmentally. I often receive the feedback from clients that my style of relating helps them open up and discuss things in therapy that they may not be voicing elsewhere.
In my work with clients, I tend to encourage a mixture of insight-oriented/explorative work to promote self-understanding and practical skill-building to decrease distress in the short-term. I do believe that the most long-lasting changes to be made and the most useful gains from therapy come from a more insight-oriented/explorative approach. However, skill-building is essential to learn better methods of self-care, understand how to manage distressing symptoms, and change maladaptive behavioral patterns.
Therapists have different styles regarding how active they are in session. You've seen the media representations of therapists sitting and nodding at their clients without saying much. I tend to take a mixed approach to being active in therapy sessions. Especially in earlier sessions and with clients who are younger or who have not had therapy experiences before, I help to guide the sessions and will step in with guiding questions to help move the sessions along.
As the therapeutic work evolves and the therapeutic relationship is stronger, I tend to take a less active approach and place more of the responsibility on the client to talk in therapy about what is relevant or important to the work we are doing. We will talk openly about my style and your comfort with my approach. I will ask you questions about how you are feeling about the therapy, especially in the early sessions, and that is a great time for you to let me know if you would like me to be more or less active in session.