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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Linder

What to expect when you are first starting Counseling.

It's 10 pm and there you find yourself staring at the ceiling. You're not thinking about anything in particular, you are just zoned out. Or, maybe you find yourself thinking, "I'm really struggling". You sit up, grab your laptop and start searching. You're finally going to put your mental health first and talk to someone. After much searching, you come across Calibrations Counseling & Consultation and take a chance. So you've done it, you're scheduled and anxiously awaiting your session but now what? You've never seen a counselor before and have no clue what to expect. We're here to help give your mind a break.

What Is Counseling?

This might seem like an obvious answer but it can be confusing so we are here to help. Truthfully, counseling looks different to each person, hence why some people may find it difficult to tell you exactly what it is. For one person, this might look like having someone to bounce ideas and thoughts off of. To another, this could look like working through resources to address a specific concern or to just be validated. And the list goes on from there. You and your counselor will work together to determine what may work best for you so that you can get the help you deserve.

What we are:

  • Professionals who will provide you a safe and confidential space to work through whatever you may be struggling with at the moment.

  • A space where you will be respected, heard, and valued.

  • A space where you may not always hear what you want to. Sometimes, your thoughts or perceptions may be challenged in order to help you grow and move toward your goals.

  • A collaborative effort between you and your counselor to assist you in identifying your goals and developing the skills you need to achieve them.

What we are not:

  • We are not doctors so we will not be prescribing you any medications. If you are interested in trying medication to assist in your mental health symptoms, we will be happy to refer you to a Psychiatrist.

  • Although we are honored walk beside you though your journey, we are not able to fix issues. Majority of your progress depends on the work you do on the outside of your sessions.

  • We are not mind readers....I know, shocking. Jokes aside, the counseling process depends on what you feel comfortable sharing. What you bring to each session is what we are able to work though.

Also, our code of ethics allows us to hold a space with you where whatever you say stays between you and your therapist. That being said, there are limits to that confidentiality that all counselors should be telling you. These limits are:

  • 1) If you report an active plan to complete suicide,

  • 2) Report an active plan to harm someone else,

  • 3)If you report any child abuse,

  • 4) If you report any elder abuse,

  • 5) If you report any abuse to the disabled and

  • 6) If you have a plan to damage property.

If any of those 6 exceptions occur, we might need to break confidentiality so we can keep people safe and notify the proper parties. If you have any questions about this, please ask your therapist and they would be happy to answer any questions and explain this further.

What to expect from a first session at Calibrations Counseling & Consultation

Each counseling agency might be a little different. For us at Calibrations, once you have scheduled a time with us, we will first send you all of the intake paperwork to the email address you provided to us. Once you get it, there will be a link that connects you to our secure client portal where you will be able to view, complete, and e-sign the intake paperwork. It is super important that this is completed before your first session. If it is not completed, your session will be rescheduled for whenever it is complete. Most clients report that it takes 10-15 minutes to complete the paperwork fully. Our advice is to do it immediately when you get the link so you do not forget about it.

The first session is what we commonly refers to as the "DA" session which stands for Diagnostic Assessment. I tend to joke in session and say "It's where I get to ask you a million invasive questions and expect you to tell a stranger your deepest darkest secrets." Jokes aside, this is done for the following reasons: 1) It gives us an overall summary of whats going on and allows us to prepare and present a possible course of action to address your needs. 2) If you are using insurance, the DA is needed so we can justify to the insurance company why you would benefit from counseling. This is the main reason we only have limited insurance slots. We are very much against an insurance company deciding if you need counseling or not. This decision should be up to you, not someone sitting behind a desk whom you have never met or spoken to.

With this DA session, we are the ones steering the session, so all you need to do is be present and bring yourself. If there is a question we ask that you don't feel comfortable answering, let us know. THAT IS OKAY! The ideal goal is we get to work with you for a while. There is plenty of time to get there when YOU feel ready.

Other helpful information:

  • One of the most important aspects of counseling is the relationship you have with your therapist. If you are not vibing with your therapist, that's okay! Let them know. I know that might seem scary but our job is to assist you with your mental health needs even if that is not with us. We do not get offended if you ask for referrals.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions! Counseling is a conversation and we are more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.


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