What Can You Expect of a Session?
An initial session may begin with what I like to call 'setting the stage' or 'frame' as well as 'information gathering'. For example, I will provide you with an overview of my role, address confidentiality, including reviewing the limits of confidentiality and also orient you to the general process of therapy. I will also answer any questions that you may have. Together, we may delve into what are some of the reasons that you’ve reached out, what are the concerns that have brought you to seek therapy and what are some of the areas that you would like to work on. I will ask you about your past mental health and counselling experiences, including what you found most beneficial and not so helpful. We may also explore whether you prefer to talk during therapy sessions, or if your preference is to do in-session activities, or, if you would like homework exercises that will allow you to monitor, track and record areas or behaviours that you would like to change. At the end of each session, I may share my clinical impressions with you and provide you with some psycho-educational resources or handouts. Please note that this is just one example of how a session could unravel.
I believe that highlighting awareness is integral to the therapy process. I also believe that it is crucial to provide individuals with a foundational skill set where they can learn to assess their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. As such, we may develop a goal or an experiment for you to try, whereby, you can observe, notice or pay attention to the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and, physiological sensations (i.e. what happens inside your body) and how these elements are influenced by the meaning or interpretation that you make of events, communications, interactions or situations. Part of my practice consists of always highlighting a key point of awareness for you to take away at each session; whether this is a skill to try practicing, insight to reflect on, or a resource to research.
Lastly, it is important for you to know that there is absolutely no expectation or pressure for you to be prepared or to have the 'right answers' during our session. It is completely fine if you 'don’t know' something or do not have an answer to a question. Similarly, we do not need to dive into an area that you are not yet ready to explore. You can share what you are comfortable with; I will meet you where you are at, follow your pace and go where you want to go. Throughout this process, I will serve as a guide along your journey.