“I am an orphan. Both my parents have died.” That’s what a client recently told me. I had the exact same feelings when my mother died two years ago. My father preceded her five years earlier. Read more
Have you ever wondered what happens in the first counseling session? I thought you might, so I wrote this article for you.
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 the past factors that affect 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 undermined. 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 choose to proceed, I’ll gather more information in the second session. When 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.
I’ll do my best to give you referrals for the following situations. These are not in my wheel house.
• 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. And, I do not counsel children or adolescents.
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 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.
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
Covid-19 Support Series #1
I am sending you my love and blessings during this world crisis due to the coronavirus Covid-19. I bless you with the wisdom to make healthy choices and to keep you and your loved ones safe from harm. Read more
Even in the best of relationships, couples sometimes struggle with emotional connection. They want to feel close, but it seems like there’s a wedge between them. Read more
I’m reaching out to all of you who have troubled family relationships during the holidays.
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
I’m writing to men here. But if you are a woman who is married, dating or engaged, you’ll probably want to read this, too. Give him a gentle nudge to read it. Read more
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
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