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What Should I Expect From Counseling?
Welcome to TLC Counseling & Consulting Services LLC! Congratulations on making this very important step in your life! I do not take this decision lightly. In this packet, you will find some helpful information as you begin this journey.
I may have already covered some of this information during your initial assessment but below is some helpful information about the counseling process.
The Therapy “Hour”
Sometimes clients feel limited by the 45-50 minute counseling sessions, expecting our time to last a full hour. Sessions are 45-50 minutes for mainly two reasons: that is the amount of time insurance companies and EAPs reimburse for and accounts for the 10-15 minutes for administrative duties such as billing, notes, and any session planning on my end outside of our session time.
What to Expect
During your first session, we complete your initial assessment. Meaning that you shared details about what has brought you in for counseling now, giving me the opportunity to learn more about what you hope to change. I always emphasize that this is the very beginning of a “process.”
Clients are often relieved that they have gotten a lot off of their chest. However, that is not counseling or therapy. I will want to learn more about what you would like to change—your treatment goal. You may not know what that is yet but I can help you explore and then we discuss interventions that will help you achieve those goals. We do need at least one, but usually, 2-3 goals are typical.
I usually talk with you about your family and childhood to learn more about who you are as a person. Different approaches to counseling place more or less emphasis on family history and I like to think that I am somewhere in the middle.
I believe it important for me to understand you as a whole individual. Towards the end, I will clarify your goals, initial interventions, and homework that will help you achieve your goals.
This is a crucial part of your treatment. Many are surprised to learn that a significant part of the change process happens outside of our 45-50 minute session. I understand most people are busy with work and family but counseling is an investment of your time.
Homework may only take 15-30 minutes so it is doable. It usually consists of reading an article or a book, completing a worksheet, or spending time practicing new skills. It is even more important that you follow through in order not to get stalled. If you are having difficulty completing the homework, let me know early on so we can discuss how to adapt accordingly.
Structure of the Session
Clients often find that the session goes very quickly. Our first 5-10 minutes is usually a brief update from our last session and any significant events, breakthroughs, etcetera. Next is review of homework and how it was applied. After is discussion of new skills or homework.
The last 5-10 minutes are reserved for questions, review of the session, and planning for our session. Each activity builds upon the previous one. I do my best to begin and end each session on time which is why it is important for you to arrive on time and for us to end on time. Often it will feel like we are just making breakthroughs at the end but I keep notes of where we left off.
Please review any additional information given which typically includes tips for making counseling successful, a list of books to consider reading, or other articles. I cannot stress enough how important the time in between our sessions is.
While my first few sessions are more of an information gathering and planning nature, they will move to being led by you based on the goals we set together. Any reading and homework that is recommended is crucial. Also, please review the informed consent regarding late cancellation and no-shows.
I hope this information helps you understand the counseling process better. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to working with you!
Tashika L. Holloway, LPC, CPCS, EAS-C
TLC Counseling & Consulting Services LLC
Connect With Me
If you still have questions in mind left unanswered, get in touch with me today in East Point, Georgia. I’d be more than glad to provide you with the answers you need.
|Posted on September 11, 2018 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
There are a few essentials to achieving success in counseling with African American clientele. Below are some keys to counseling African-Americans most effectively:
1) Be solution-focused.
It’s important that counselors are solution-focused when it comes to counseling African-Americans. In my recent dissertation research with African American counselors, some of the most significant factors were overcoming unrealistic expectations about counseling and retaining African American clients in counseling. For example, African American clients often expect to be in counseling for a shorter period of time or want advice. As a result, counselors may need to be more solution-focused even if this is not the counselor’s preferred counseling style. African Americans more often present to counseling in times of crisis and if we feel our specific problem was not addressed or solution offered, then we may not feel it was effective or useful and not return for the next session.
2) Focus on psychoeducation.
Another key to succeeding in counseling with African American clientele is placing a heavier focus on psychoeducation, especially in the beginning of counseling. For example, explaining the purpose of therapeutic homework assignments, how you help clients change, and explaining certain diagnoses. This is a significant factor because often African Americans have even more reservations. We're told to be strong and utilize other means of dealing with their issues—such as faith. Therefore, you may need to spend a good bulk of time teaching your African American clients about how the therapeutic process will unfold and ,perhaps more importantly, how it will help them.
3) Offer support in overcoming stigma.
Helping your African American clientele is providing a great degree of support in helping overcome stigma briefly. The decision to pursue counseling can be difficult for many clients, but for African-Americans, there is often more of a stigma. Seeking counseling may conflict with other personal values such as spirituality and faith and being strong. As a result, we may not even want family or friends to know we are in counseling. Reassuring African American clients that you can utilize all forms of support is a strength.
4) Build a strong therapeutic relationship early.
And lastly, it’s extremely important that counselors work on establishing that connection and building a strong therapeutic relationship from the beginning. Building a strong therapeutic relationship early is key to addressing our concerns and fears and overcoming many of these obstacles. Whenever I asked clients about past counseling experiences, they often said they didn’t feel a connection or that the counselor truly cared. While every client will not be a fit, relying on one’s basic counseling skills will likely create an environment conducive to change and healing. These skills include empathizing, listening carefully and thoughtfully, asking open-ended questions, and ultimately keeping your client’s best interest in mind.
Check out the full article at: http://thriveworks.com/blog/therapists-counselors-best-help-african-american-clientele/