When you call our offices to arrange for therapy sessions, a staff member will ask you for some background demographic information including your name, date of birth, mailing address, contact phone number, as well as any insurance information (if applicable). They will also ask if you have a preference about whether to work with a male or female therapist, or if you have specific limitations for certain days or times of the week in scheduling sessions. These will be taken into consideration, and a therapist will be assigned that best suits your needs and the issues you are planning to present in counseling.
You will then schedule an initial assessment session with a therapist. Staff will send out a packet of information for you to fill out prior to your first appointment. This packet can also be downloaded off of our website.
During the initial assessment session, the therapist will ask you questions regarding what you feel the issues are, and how you may have tried to resolve them in the past, as well as pertinent background and history information which may be relevant to the counseling process. The therapist will ask you to consider what your personal needs and goals are in the therapeutic process.
Depending on the personalities of the client and therapist and the particular issues that the client brings, psychotherapy may vary. There are different approaches to address different problems. The currently acceptable treatment modes to help you with your specific situation will be discussed with you. Be assured that the specific approach agreed upon to help you will be a God pleasing one. Unlike medical care, psychotherapy requires an active effort on your part. Together with the therapist you will choose how to approach your concerns. To be successful you will have to work toward goals both during sessions and at home.
After the initial session, the therapist will complete a treatment plan which will include an initial assessment, diagnosis, treatment goals, and planning to accomplish those goals. Psychotherapy occurs in 45 minutes blocks of time. A session usually occurs once per week to begin with and then, as progress toward your goal for therapy is being made, the time between your sessions is spread out.
The actual number of sessions needed to accomplish goals for clients will vary. Some matters are quite complex and considerable time is needed to accomplish the goals. Other situations take less time to resolve. Your therapist will make every effort to be as time and cost efficient as possible to help you resolve your concerns. Therapy involves a commitment of time, energy, and money. Any questions you have about the process should be discussed with your therapist whenever they arise.
Generally, the assessment process for couple therapy is similar to the assessment of an individual. At the first session, we ask that both partners be present to discuss what you feel the issues are, how you may have tried to resolve them in the past, as well as pertinent background and history information which may be relevant to the counseling process. The therapist will ask you to consider what your personal needs and goals are in the therapeutic process.
After the initial session, the therapist will often meet individually with each partner, to assess individual functioning as it applies to the individual as well as the relationship. This often allows partners to be more candid in the initial stages of therapy. After these three sessions, the therapist will bring the partners back together for a conjoint session, share assessment/treatment plan information, and continue the therapy process.
Children and adolescents can benefit from therapy to address issues related to behavior problems, depression, anxiety, abuse or trauma, difficulty in school, difficulty with peer or family relationships, transitional stress, etc. When initiating therapy for a child, we ask that one or both parents attend the first session in order to gain a picture of the family environment and what the parent is noticing at home.
Often the arrangement of the first session is dependent on the issues and comfort level of all involved. At times, we have the parent come in to discuss history of the problem without the child present and then spend the second half of session building rapport and assessing the child’s needs as the primary client either with or without the parent present. Over time, sessions are likely needed with parents to address patterns that may be contributing to the overall struggles in the home environment and how they might work to support changes their children are making.
There are times when full family sessions are also appropriate, and often if the goal is overall improved family functioning. Often this takes the form of various subsystems meeting at different times (parents sessions, siblings sessions, parent/child sessions, family sessions, etc.) This is obviously dependent on the family dynamics and goals set out at the initiation of therapy. Like all counseling, an initial assessment will be completed and a treatment plan developed with goals for the therapy process will be shared with the client/parents.