According to the American Counseling Association, "Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health." Licensed Professional Counselors provide clinical and medical services to aid in treating mental, behavioral, and emotional problems.
Counseling can be beneficial to anyone. Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes the support of friends and family is not enough during stressful situations or life transitions. An unbiased professional is trained to provide you with the treatment services, validation, and encouragement you need.
You have the right to a safe and comfortable environment with a trained counselor who will provide you with unconditional positive regard, acceptance, and empathy. You have the right to confidentiality. While you should feel cared for by your counselor, your counselor should maintain the appropriate boundaries of a professional relationship. You should expect your counselor to explore your concerns, to create a treatment plan to reduce symptomology, and to provide therapeutic treatment modalities to benefit your therapeutic process.
Within the first few sessions, you should begin to make a connection with your counselor. Working with a counselor you trust and feel comfortable talking to is crucial to the therapeutic process. You should feel safe, accepted, and respected. Not all counselors are right for every person, so use your sessions to assess whether or not the counselor you chose feels like a good match. Identifying the counselor’s general philosophy and determining if the counselor can clearly define how they can address your concern(s), will benefit you in this assessment.
The first session is typically spent gathering background information about you and the presenting issue(s), formulating your goal(s), and developing a treatment plan.