The counseling process begins with an intake, which is an approximately one-hour interview, in which the psychologist questions you about the problems you have been experiencing and your background. At the end of this session, we will provide you with treatment recommendations, which may include counseling, psychological testing or consultation with a physician. Counseling usually occurs on a weekly basis, but under some circumstances, we see clients less frequently. Over the course of the counseling, clients develop greater insight into the causes of their problems and discover positive changes they can make to improve their ability to cope. As needed, we will make suggestions for positive life changes, and we collaboratively examine with the client the outcomes of such changes. Counseling is conducted within a supportive, empathetic environment, designed to put the client at ease. In addition, we often teach specific life and coping skills during the counseling session.
Counseling can take the form of individual, family, couple or group sessions. Family sessions are used to allow multiple family members to provide input about problems with family functioning. In couples counseling, we help couples improve communication and trust and rediscover what originally united them. (For more information on group therapy, please see the group therapy section.)
When doing therapy with children and adolescents, we divide our time between therapy with them and private conversations with their parents. We help parents learn new parenting strategies, which have been demonstrated to bring improvements in behavior and emotional problems. We use talk or play therapy with children, as needed.