If you are in counseling or are thinking of starting, you may have asked yourself “What can I expect from Counseling?” With how the media portrays counseling, it isn’t surprising to have questions or even concerns about what counseling will be like for you.
Of course it is important to understand that counseling is only as effective as you make it. What I mean is that most of the work done in counseling actually comes from you, the client. Imagine the counselor as a guide showing you alternative ways of approaching situations or handling your problems. You as the client have to choose one and carry it out. If you aren’t following through or actively participating, then counseling will be ineffective.
Here are expectations to have for counseling
- You should expect to increase your awareness of what is causing your struggles and what the roadblocks are.
- You will be taught new skills and tools to manage your struggles in the present and for the future.
- Understanding the limits of confidentiality, you can expect a safe place to talk about anything and everything that is on your mind. The limits being that the counselor has a legal obligation to report risk of suicide, homicide or current child or elder abuse. Privacy can also be compromised depending also on whether you have an active court case or if you use your health insurance.
- You shouldn’t feel judged or worry about scaring the counselor with what you have to share.
- You should expect to work with a trained professional or have them refer you to someone who will be able to better serve you should they not have the right training or skills to help with your issues.
- You should feel hope and relief after your sessions.
- You may feel discomfort and emotional pain depending on what and how severe your struggles are.
- You should expect to feel “contained” by the end of your counseling sessions and not left unstable or vulnerable.
- This is important for clients with trauma. As a result, your counselor may wait to discuss a difficult subject at the start of a future session and not at the middle or end.
- You should expect an environment where are you free to express positive and negative feedback about your counselor’s style or direction of treatment without worrying that they will get upset or offended.