We understand – the thought of coming to counseling can be intimidating.
Trust us when we say there’s nothing to be afraid of! We’re normal people just like you who have a desire to help you live your life to the fullest.
To help ease any discomfort you may have at the thought of counseling with us, we’d like to let you know how to prepare for counseling and what to expect.
First, we should tell you what therapy is…
- Therapy is about helping you reach a goal or goals; it’s about getting you to a place where you feel comfortable and satisfied with the way life is humming on around you and within you.
- Therapy is about working with your therapist to achieve the outcome you’re hoping for. A good therapist is like a coach, teacher, consultant, and referee all wrapped into one. They’ll listen to you and understand you without judging you. They’ll help you see more clearly how you got to where you are and how to get to where you want to go. They’ll give you the confidence to talk about things with others (spouse, family member, friend, co-worker, etc) that you may have been too uncomfortable to bring up on your own.
- Ultimately, therapy equips you to work through any obstacle that lies between where you are now and where you really want to be.
…and what therapy is not
- Therapy isn’t always a quick, painless fix. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. But if you stick with it and do the hard work of walking through this challenging season with your therapist, things will get better!
- Therapy isn’t about your therapist doing the work for you. However good a therapist may be, he/she cannot make you reach your goal(s). They can’t fix your problem(s) for you. You will still have to work at it. What a good therapist will do for you is give you the means and the guidance to help you reach your goal(s), and will walk alongside you until you get there.
Have some questions, or need more info? Click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
On how to prepare for counseling
What will my first session be like?
Your first session is a chance for you to make sure you and your counselor are a great fit! They might ask you about what’s brought you in, if you have questions, and some history. Your counselor may take notes as you talk, to help you as you create a therapy plan together to reach your goals. (You’re not being graded or judged!)
The first session builds the foundation for future growth and healing, and you’ll probably spend a good amount of time talking about your background and the history of what’s bringing you in. You might feel strong emotions, cry, or feel overwhelmed at times, but your counselor is there to help you feel safe, comfortable, and supported.
How will I feel after my first session?
The therapeutic process can feel slow when you first start. You may feel like the first few sessions haven’t done much, but they are building up to the deeper work! It’s important to remember one session won’t “fix” everything. It can take a few sessions to dig deep before you get to the powerful work of healing.
On the other hand, as you dive into sharing deep hurts, you may notice yourself feeling more vulnerable, raw, or emotional after your first few sessions. This is totally normal! Your therapist can help you identify these deeper emotions and causes, and help you care for yourself as you open yourself up to the process of healing.
How soon might I feel a difference in my own life?
The beautiful thing about counseling is that it’s for you. There’s no perfect formula for when you’ll “feel better,” (though sometimes we wish there was!).
As you address important issues, implement the tools and strategies you talk about in counseling, and work through specific things, you may start noticing small changes before big ones.
Give yourself time to get comfortable, feel safe with your therapist, and share your hurts and sorrows. Healing takes time, and there is no pressure or deadline to get there! You’ll start noticing the positive changes in your life at exactly the pace that is right for you.
How do I find the right counselor for me?
Personally, are you more comfortable with a counselor that is soft-spoken and gently encouraging? Do you prefer someone strong who can challenge you to grow? Do you enjoy diving deep into emotions? Or do you prefer concrete strategies and tools?
You can find all this information and more on each counselor’s bio page!
Not sure where to start? Contact our admin team and they can help match you with the right counselor for you!
What if my counselor isn’t a great fit?
No worries! We want to make sure that you find the absolute best counselor for you. If you meet with a counselor at Cornerstone and feel like they’re not quite right, or you want someone with more experience or training in a specific area, we offer one free transfer session to a new counselor on our team.
Just reach out to our office and we can set that up for you!
How should I prepare for my first session?
Definitely limit distractions! Wear something comfortable, since you may be sitting or moving around. The last thing you need is that itchy tag stealing your attention every few minutes. Turn notifications off on your phone, watch, and other devices.
If you’re doing online counseling, make sure you’re in a quiet, confidential spot. If you’re coming into the office, come a few minutes early to scope out the location, find the office, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in our waiting room.
And of course, make sure you complete your paperwork ahead of time! This not only helps your therapist jump right in, it can help you think through your goals and desires for healing, which helps you make the most of your time together.
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