What to Expect
***If your child is age 12 or older, according to Illinois law they have the right to consent to mental health treatment without a parent or guardian for up to 5 visits. I always encourage caregiver involvement in therapy whenever possible.***
Your first counseling session will largely consist of getting to know each other, and discussing what has brought you into therapy. If you are a parent bringing your child in, I will meet with you and your child together and/or separately to gather information about your concerns. We will talk about what changes you would like to see in your life, as well as discuss any questions you have about therapy. I ask a range of questions to learn more about you, but please know it is important to me that you share your story at a pace that is comfortable for you. We will also complete some initial paperwork together, and figure out a counseling schedule that works best for you. On average, I see clients once a week, but we may meet more or less often based on your needs.
In the following sessions, we will work together to create a treatment plan that includes your goals in therapy, and how we will know when your goals have been met. Parents/guardians are involved in helping to create a treatment plan for their child. Open discussions regarding emotions, experiences, your thought processes, and positive or negative changes in your life will occur throughout therapy. Your personal strengths will be integrated into sessions. For example, if you are artistic, art therapy techniques may be utilized in our work together. I often use a mixture of talk therapy and in-session activities, but this varies depending on what you find most helpful. When working with children, play and art are often used in place of, or along with talk therapy. Children do not always have the words to communicate how they are feeling, and are able to express themselves easier through art and play. I will challenge you at times, but will never make you talk about or do anything that you do not feel ready for. We will delve deeper into areas of concern with each session, as well as identify ways to create positive change.
Therapy typically ends when both the therapist and client (and/or caregiver) agree that goals have been met. I recommend therapy end by meeting less frequently until you are ready to stop counseling all together. If circumstances do not allow for this, we may alternatively meet for a termination session. Of course, you are free to terminate counseling services at any time you wish, and you are always welcome to return to therapy with me in the future if needed.
Counseling sessions look different for each individual client, and I am incredibly flexible in how our time together is structured. I love receiving feedback, as this helps me tailor each session to your needs.