Individual Counseling – What to Expect

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THE SKINNY ON YOUR FIRST SESSION AND MORE

Every time I meet with a new client, the common feeling is that they are a bit nervous about the counseling process and what to expect. Or better yet, the only type of counseling they have been exposed to are from movies, like The Sopranos or Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Let me put your mind at ease. My counseling sessions are not going to be like the movies, where you lie down on the coach, talk for 50-minutes while the therapist draws pictures and never responds. My goal is to help you walk out with hope, direction, and education.

It’s normal to feel a bit anxious before you go to counseling, especially if you have never gone to counseling in the past. In reality, starting individual counseling takes courage to reach out and ask for help. From your first session to all subsequent visits, I am only here to help you in your personal growth, to sort out emotional struggles, or to work through your personal demons.

The First Individual Counseling Session

The first individual counseling session begins with discussing what you know about counseling, any concerns or questions you have for me, and getting comfortable with the individual therapy. We will briefly go over the intake forms that you filled out and counseling expectations. Then, and more importantly, you will catch me up to speed with what is bringing you in to counseling. I will guide a lot of the conversation assessing the situation, along with a conversation about goals of the counseling, and the specific struggles in your life that are stirring up issues. I will also explain in detail the process of counseling, and my goal is to help provide clarity or education on the steps you can take right away to improve your situation. My goal is to provide a neutral and emotionally safe environment where I can support you, and provide an open forum for us to discuss the situation. I try to be as transparent as possible, while providing my concerns or thoughts on the situation at hand.

Personalized Objectives

I know that each person who walks into my office has his or her own story, issues, and problems. I will make an effort to get to know you as a person, and we will work together to address the issues you want to overcome. In general, my goals for individual counseling are to help my clients move past things like low self-esteem, anxiety, self-doubt, past trauma, and loneliness.

Complete Emotional Safety

The goal is to have your counseling sessions be emotionally safe. I will strive to establish a place where you can open up about how you feel, and never be judged or met with a critical response. I will be active in the counseling sessions to make it feel comfortable so it is safe to express your fears and other emotions. I will also help you react to others in your life in a healthy way, so you can establish emotional safety with your friends and loved ones outside of the office.

Learning

Ultimately, I want you to leave your sessions having learned how to better cope with a problem, communicate to others what you need, and manage emotions like anger. You won’t just come and unload your problems, and then leave. The counseling isn’t going to be an isolated experience, where you can’t apply things we talk about to “real life.” I always want my clients to feel like they are moving forward, learning new techniques for a healthy life and how to create their best selves!

Don’t be afraid to pay me a visit – I am only here to help! Give me a call today, or book online, and let’s see if I can help you become a stronger you!

About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653

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