The length of time you may work with a counselor can vary enormously. Counseling may end for any number of reasons. Sometimes people complete their counseling goals sooner than expected and termination is jointly agreed upon and planned for by both counselor and client. Other times, clients simply stop coming to counseling, either because their motivation for change is not high enough, they become anxious about discussing difficult issues, or they don’t feel comfortable with their counselor. Termination is actually a natural part of the counseling process, and it provides a learning opportunity. Here are some things to remember:
For planned termination:
- Be sure to give your counselor plenty of notice if you will have to end treatment for some reason.
- Take the time near the end of counseling to review your progress and discuss any unmet goals.
- Make sure you know what to do if you have a difficult time in the future.
- If you have not met your counseling goals but you have to decided to leave counseling for another reason, work with your counselor to obtain a referral to another professional. Make sure that you sign appropriate release forms so your new therapist can have any necessary information.
- Use some of your time in the last session or two to plan how you will apply what you have learned in therapy to any upcoming challenges.
- Congratulate yourself on sticking with the counseling process and making progress. Don’t be discouraged if you still have concerns – any movement in a positive direction provides you with a foundation for future positive change.
If you are thinking of leaving counseling because you’re not satisfied with something about your treatment:
- Discuss your concerns with your counselor. You are the customer, and you have every right to leave counseling if you wish. However, it is always a good idea for you to make sure you are leaving for appropriate reasons, and not just avoiding problems that will trouble you in the future.
- If you don’t feel you and your counselor are a good match, you do have the right to request another counselor. Not every client and every counselor will “click,” and as professionals, we can deal with this without turning it into a personal problem.
- If you don’t feel you are making good progress in treatment, ask your counselor to spend a session reviewing your counseling goals.
- Don’t just “no-show.” For your own sake and out of courtesy to your counselor, try to make one last appointment to wrap things up and to clarify your reasons for leaving.
Define your goals
Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to jot down a list of events, relationship issues, and feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. As counseling progresses, longer-term goals may emerge along with some ideas about how to progress toward these goals.
Consider how you feel about the counseling relationship
Since a good working relationship is vital to successful counseling, you will want to experience a satisfying level of trust and understanding with your counselor. Nonetheless, self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Therefore, it may be unrealistic to expect that you will feel completely comfortable at all times with your counselor. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly. Because counseling is a mutual enterprise, you and your counselor may also make adjustments in your working style to better meet your needs for both encouragement and support.
Recognize and express feelings
The recognition, acceptance, and expression of feelings pave the way for personal growth and change. Thoughts and feelings are equally important in working through difficulties. Your counselor will work with you to integrate your thoughts and emotions in a balanced way.
Be patient with yourself
Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time. Changing what has become such an integral part of yourself is very difficult and at times slow. By having patience with yourself and accepting and understanding the natural resistance we all feel toward change, you set the foundation for developing and changing in more appropriate and satisfying directions.
Many of us enter therapy hoping to get some quick relief from the distress that we are experiencing. We are aware that therapy is costing us a lot in terms of time, money, and energy and we want to see some immediate results, especially when we are in pain. It is important that you talk with your therapist about your expectations and needs from the counseling process.
Counseling is a type of learning…about yourself, your feelings, and your relationships with others. There are many different approaches to counseling; depending on their interests, background, personality, and beliefs, different counselors have different views about how to best help people. There are, though, some things about the counseling process that don’t change, no matter who your counselor is.
What will happen in counseling depends on the special needs and strengths of each person seeking assistance. For this reason, each counseling experience is unique, just as each individual is unique. The first one or two meetings are usually spent clarifying the problem and examining what solutions have already been attempted. This is often referred to as the assessment phase of counseling. During this time your counselor may gather information about your past, your personal style and relationship patterns, as well as your intellectual and emotional functioning. This aids the counselor in determining which counseling ies might be most helpful for you.
A few things to keep in mind:
- It takes time to establish a trusting relationship with a therapist
- We all resist change. Don’t be surprised if you are tempted to quit therapy right before some real changes occur. Don’t quit just because it’s uncomfortable.
- Your counselor will expect you to let her/him know what is most important for you to talk about. You will be doing most of the talking. You may talk about whatever is concerning you.
- Generally, your counselor may not give you advice or tell you what to do. We support the development of your sense of responsibility for your own decisions and life. We help you to help yourself, through helping you to clarify what you think, feel, and value, and to generate alternate ways of thinking about yourself and dealing with your concerns.
- Your counselor will not be able to “see through” you, or “read your mind.” The more open and honest you are, the more helpful counseling can be. However, you will not be forced to talk about anything you don’t feel ready to talk about. When you do choose to talk about something that is difficult for you, your counselor will listen in a non-judgmental manner.
It is our goal to provide you with professional behavioral health care, regardless of your income level or insurance status.
For individuals or families without insurance coverage, Family Counseling Service provides behavioral health care based on a sliding fee scale. Your income level can determine the fee you pay; public funds (from places like the United Way, INC Board, NFP, and others) make up the difference in cost.
If you have health insurance, including Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others, that covers mental health or substance abuse services, we may be able to bill your insurance for services you receive from Family Counseling Service. Our staff can help you determine whether or not your insurance plan covers services at our agency.
For more information about payment or insurance, call (630) 844-2662.
During your first visit, the therapist will want to get to know you and find out why you are interested in counseling. To accomplish this, the therapist will ask about your life, your history, what you do, with whom you live and what you think the problem is. It is also common to be asked about your family and friends and your relationships with others. This information helps the counselor assess your situation and develop with you a plan for treatment.
Therapy is an active collaboration between therapist and client. It isn’t always easy. But people willing to work in close partnership with their therapist often find relief from their emotional distress and begin to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
Also, if you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, be sure to talk about those feelings at your next meeting. Don’t be afraid to change to another therapist. Feeling comfortable with the professional you choose and their style of therapy is important to the success of your treatment.
Our staff will get some basic information from you – demographic information (name, address, date of birth, etc.), insurance information if it applies to you, and a few questions about why you are calling to see a therapist, psychiatrist, or other clinical professional. Our staff will help you determine which of our programs and clinicians will be the best fit for you or your family.
We will do our best to schedule an intake appointment for you at the time of your initial call; if that’s not possible, we will call you back with an appointment within one day. If you have questions you would like answered before you schedule an appointment, ask to speak with one of the counselors.
To schedule an appointment or to get more information, call (630) 844-8220.