What is individual counseling?
When a person attends counseling for themselves, this is considered individual counseling. This is a very simplistic answer. Let’s provide you with more information. When someone comes to counseling alone, they will receive what most people see as traditional counseling. Their counselor will first focus on understanding their concerns and problems. They will then work to help you set up some reasonable and attainable goals. Finally, they will work with you to meet those goals throughout the coming weeks and months.
How long does someone go to counseling?
It depends. Counseling depends on the severity and complexity of the problem. Also, the client’s willingness to work through their struggles diligently and consistently is important. From our experience, when an individual comes to counseling, they can prolong their counseling by being less engaged and just going through the motions.
Typically, we start with 4 to 6 sessions and then reassess the goals of the client. This does not mean the client will only have 4 to 6 sessions. We reassess around the 4 to 6 session mark to increase accountability, consistency, and accuracy within the process of counseling. Counseling is a process. It can take time depending on the individual’s needs. Typically counseling can run from 4 sessions to 20 or more.
What is counseling like?
When you come to see us, we get to know you first. We perform an intake assessment. This assessment helps us to understand and learn about your primary concerns. We ask about the history behind that problem. Your counselor will ask you how you grew up and how your childhood years played out. The process of gathering as much information to understand why your primary problem exists is very important and helpful to establish a better understanding for what is going on.
After the first session, the therapist will help you create some reasonable and attainable goals. Then you will start working towards those goals each session. Some sessions you may veer off to put out some “fires” in your life by reframing some issues or processing critical momentary concerns. Please understand that life will be life. Plans will change. Goals will change. We understand that too. Flexibility, communication, openness, patience, and honesty are so important in this process. Your counselor will look to you for understanding and information. You need to look to them for safety, attentiveness, care, and concern.
Methods used in individual counseling?
Counselors use lots of different methods. They may be trained more in one specific method, but most tend to use a variety of ways to help you attain your goals. Some forms of therapy that counselors use are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychotherapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Systems Therapy, Brief Solutions Focused Therapy (BSFT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and others. The training your therapist has had will dictate which method they use more or most effectively. Each method is useful for different concerns.
Unless you are well versed in one or multiple methods, the method your therapist uses probably won’t be apparent to you. You are just seeking help and wondering if your therapist can help you. We try to make sure our therapist are well trained in one method and add the others to help with concerns that may be better helped through other forms of therapy. Again, it’s a process. Research suggest that the most important aspect of whether counseling is effective is the therapeutic relationship.
What is the therapeutic relationship?
The therapeutic relationship is the relationship that your therapist and you form. Research suggest that if the relationship is one where you feel safe and that your therapist is engaged and understands you, then therapy will be beneficial. It is understandable that when you come to counseling you will have anxiety because you don’t know your therapist. But as you come to know them, trust them, and feel safe to share with them, the process of therapy will very likely begin to work for you.
However, there are times where you will start therapy and just not be able to connect with that therapist. It is important that you recognize that and share that with your therapist so they can consider whether they need to refer you to another therapist to see if that would be better.