Making the decision to seek help for yourself and possibly for your children may have been very difficult. I commend you for your courage and would like to explain how the psychotherapy process proceeds. The first appointment will be focused on gathering information from you and those involved in the counseling relationship. I may meet with you individually or with parents and children together as well as separately. The information gathered is used to assist us in developing a unique plan with your personal goals for counseling in mind. Theoretically, I believe that aspects of psychological, social, emotional, spiritual, and biological factors have contributed to the problems that you and your family may be facing. Therefore, I use an integrated approach to treatment which includes methods from family systems, behavioral, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, health psychology, and psychodynamic theory.
I utilize play therapy techniques when appropriate with children and families. Honesty is critical and creates a foundation for our working relationship. Therefore, I welcome your input and feedback about the counseling process on a regular basis. Most people find that engaging in psychotherapy provides an opportunity to express concerns in a supportive relationship in which one can gain hope, perspective, insight, and the motivation to change. However, counseling also has some potential risks. Making personal changes may be disruptive to your life and quite challenging. It is important that you consider whether the benefits of changing at this time are worth the risks. As stated above, it is your right to choose the provider and the treatment that best suits your needs and purposes. You also have the right to refuse treatment. If at any time you or I feel our therapeutic relationship does not suit your needs, I would be happy to help you find a new therapist. Once you begin counseling, we will discuss the duration and completion of counseling together. We will initially contract for a certain number of sessions and any change in this agreement will be at our discretion. Thoughts and feelings about wanting to stop counseling are important and worthwhile to discuss in psychotherapy sessions. I would prefer to plan for our last session as this provides an opportunity to summarize the progress you have made as well as consider your goals for the future.
Although you may at times feel very close to me, it is important for you to realize that we have a professional relationship rather than a personal one. Professional ethics require that our contact be limited to the paid sessions you have with me. Please do not invite me to social gatherings, offer gifts, or ask me to relate to you in any way other than in the professional context of our psychotherapy sessions. You will be best served if our relationship stays strictly professional and if our sessions concentrate exclusively on your concerns.