What happens in the first session?
Great question! When you make the decision to begin counseling, you take a significant step toward obtaining mental and emotional health for yourself and your relationships (aka: feeling better!). However, I understand that if you don’t know what to expect from the process, it can feel a bit scary. This is normal. Please know, one of my top priorities is that you feel safe in process of therapy and in our therapeutic relationship. If you have any questions or concerns as we begin, please bring them to my attention before or during our first session. Remember, you are never a number here and you will be treated with dignity and respect!
  • After completing the new client form on the website and scheduling your first appointment, you will be sent via HIPAA compliant e-mail the “Professional Informed Consent” documents to complete. This form outlines procedures, policies, and fees. Haven Counseling requires a credit card to be kept on file for billing purposes. You will also be provided with a HIPAA document for your records.
  • When you arrive, please enter the french doors to the waiting area. The waiting room is catered to adults and offers a serene and private experience. We require all cell phones to be kept on vibrate or silenced and all phone conversations to be kept at a low volume or outside of the office.  We ask that you arrange for childcare and to not bring infants or children with you as there is no supervision able to be provided. Please help yourself to free WiFi and our complimentary Starbucks coffee, hot chocolate and tea bar.
  • At your appointment time, I will greet you and invite you into my office. I like to think of my office as a private and peaceful sanctuary, a safe place to have a private conversation.
  • I will introduce myself and discuss the therapeutic process. The first session is an “icebreaker” where you can get to know me and really determine if I am the right fit for you.
  • Here you will be invited to share what brings you in and for you to tell me as much or as little as you would like about your story. I will then ask you to describe any of your goals for therapy. For some, there are no goals other then to have a safe place and someone objective to speak to and for others, there might be a specific goal (example: learning coping skills).
  • I will find out from you what is not working and help identify ways we can work together to make it better.
  • Our first session will primarily be a time to get to know me for you to determine if I am a good fit for you, identify what brought you to therapy, as well as, to establish how I can help you to reach your goals for therapy.
  • Sometimes a person doesn’t have any specific goals for therapy and that is okay too. Many people come to therapy to have a safe place to discuss heartfelt issues with an objective person who gets them.  Therapy is also a place for you to be yourself – to process your thoughts and feelings.
  • This early time is significant as I come to understand your history and any other contributing factors related to your therapy goals. If all goes well, we will then decide how often we will meet and what you wish to work on together.
  • Keep in mind, that you are in control at all times. You can leave at anytime. You can step out if you feel overwhelmed. You do not have to share anything you do not want to.
  • Remember, I am the professional, but you are hiring me to provide you with a service – professional counsel.
  • You decide how much information you provide and in the time frame you feel comfortable. You never have to lie and it is up to you and in the time frame you feel comfortable to share information about YOUR story.
  • You do not have to share anything you don’t feel comfortable. You have the right to say no, to decline, or to shake your head no. I will always honor the boundary you draw. This is an emotionally safe place and there is no “wrong way” to “do therapy.”
  • Therapists vary in there therapeutic style, personality, education, and training. However, a therapist should never be a “drill sergeant” or force someone to share anything too soon, or share when they do not want to.
  • A therapist should never sit  behind a laptop and to record clinical notes during your session. It is dehumanizing and devaluing!!! You have a right for the focus to be on you and you deserve attentiveness. You have a right to ask the therapist to not take notes during your session if they do. You are never a number here!
  • Therapy is a team effort, and as a team our purpose is to accomplish the goals YOU desire to reach— including feeling better and experiencing the change/results you seek!
I want to encourage you to be realistic and patient about the therapeutic process, as therapy is rarely a quick fix, but rather a rich process that requires time, as well as, a trusting relationship is built between us.
Lasting, permanent, and meaningful change takes time and is done in small steps that build on one another.
Trust the process!

I look forward to meeting you!