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10 Things to Expect in Your First Counseling Session

Have you ever wondered what happens in the first counseling session? I thought you might, so I wrote this article about it.

The first session is an assessment, not counseling per se. I need to get to know you before jumping into the counseling phase. I ask a lot of questions and listen closely to your answers. I want to understand you as a unique individual. You may also ask me questions to determine if we are a good fit.

1. I’ll review your intake questionnaire with you and get a crystal clear picture of your goals.
2. We’ll discuss where you are now and what past factors are affecting your current life. This will take more than one session, but I want to get an overview in the first session. We won’t have time to go into lots of details.
3. We look at the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
4. We begin to design a plan for moving from “here” to “there.”  Here’s an analogy: If you were going to build a house, you would begin with a blueprint. We start designing the blueprint in the first session. It often takes more than one session to create the blueprint. If the plan is not prepared adequately, the success of the project will be inefficient and more likely to fail. I ask for your patience during this phase. This is the first step to help you achieve your goals.
5. We’ll talk about what has worked and what has not worked in the past so I can help you more efficiently.
6. You’ll tell me how you cope with stressors so I can help you respond more effectively.
7. I’ll begin to learn about your personality and help you understand yourself better.
8. We’ll start to build rapport, the most essential element in the counseling relationship.
9. At the end of the first meeting, we will both determine if we feel like we are a good match. If not, I’ll do my best to give you referrals.
10. If we both choose to proceed, I’ll gather more information in the second session. If we are finished reviewing your intake questionnaire, we’ll develop a treatment plan. We are still in the planning stage so please be patient. After the “blueprint” is completed, we’ll jump into the counseling phase.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to address them. I like to have open communication. No question is too small. I want to serve you in the best way possible so I need to know what you are thinking, feeling and wanting.

These situations are not a good fit for me. I’ll do my best to give you referrals.
• Alcohol and/or drug abuse
• Current domestic violence
• Suicidal or homicidal ideation or attempts
• Severe mental illness
• Borderline personality disorder
• Untreated bipolar disorder

*** I do not work with clients who are involved with legal cases where I may be asked to submit my records or to testify in court. I do not write reports to justify absence from work, nor do I write disability reports, workman’s compensation reports or legal reports of any kind. I do not work with child custody cases.

Click here to read about my ideal clients for individual counseling.

Click here to read about couples counseling.

I hope this article has answered most of your questions about what to expect in the first session. I’m here to help you create the most meaningful and fulfilling life possible.

If you’d like a complimentary 10-minute phone call to see if we are a good fit, please click here to complete the Contact Form.

Benita A. Esposito, MA is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Blairsville and Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina, and she offers life coaching and spiritual counseling around the globe. She counsels adults who experience anxiety, stress, trauma, PTSD and grief. Specializations include highly sensitive people and couples counseling.

Click here for credentials.

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12 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Covid-19 Support Series #2

I hope you are well and safe during this Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a scary time. We can’t always control the things that happen around us or to us, but we can control how we react to them. How we manage our sleep impacts our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being and our relationships. Read more

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Covid-19 Support Series #1

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Maybe family members act more like frozen icicles than warm comforting blankets. Perhaps cutting words feel like daggers that pierce your soul. Maybe your mother still treats you like a 12-year-old. That hurts all the time, but especially during the holidays. Read more

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Breathwork Healing Stories – Laura

Story #1. Laura’s Chronic Shoulder Pain

Laura didn’t think the pain in her right shoulder would ever go away since the injury in 1994, so she didn’t even try to heal it. That was not the intended focus of this breathwork session that took place in 2002. Read more

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Valentine’s Couples Retreat 2020

This small group Valentine’s Retreat is perfect for couples who want to strengthen their marriage. It is also for engaged, co-habitating and dating couples who want to prevent unnecessary problems from arising in the first place.

One day: February 15, 2020. 9:30am – 5:30pm

Young Harris, Georgia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

As couples move beyond the “honeymoon” phase, they inevitably encounter conflicts. If not handled skillfully by both people, emotional wounds mount up, adding one more brick to an invisible wall. Don’t wait until the wall is too high to climb. Invest in the training you need to create the flourishing relationship you know is possible. Read more

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Healing Trauma: Abortion and Open-heart Surgery

This article was written by one of my clients who chose to remain anonymous. I’ll call her Sally. She was a smart business leader whom people respected. She felt confident at work, but she had trouble forming meaningful friendships. She felt empty inside. Read more

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23 Tips for Turning Conflict into Peace

I hope your holidays are filled with love and laughter. I bless you with inner peace that glows from your heart. Unfortunately, holidays are not merry and bright for everyone. I’ve written this article to help people who struggle at this time of the year. However, you can apply these skills 365 days a year. Read more

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