What should you expect from counselling?

 

The purpose of meeting with a counsellor is to get help with problems in your life that are bothering you or that are keeping you from being successful in important areas of your life. I will ask questions, listen to you, give questionnaires and suggest a plan for improving these problems. It is important that you feel comfortable talking to me about the issues that are bothering you.

Our first sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. The first sessions include having your detailed perspective of the issue at hand, a detailed picture of your family history and understanding what you would hope to achieve through counselling. This usually takes about one to two sessions. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include if you decide to continue with counselling, such as our goals, the methods we will use, the time commitment and the tasks involved.

An important part of counselling will be practicing new skills that you will learn in our sessions. I will ask you to practice them outside of our meetings, and we will work together to set up tasks for you. For example, I might ask you to keep records, read, or practice relaxation techniques outside of session time to deepen your learning.

 

 

 

My sessions will mainly be based on The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy, but can also draw upon techniques from CBT and the Satir Method. The Gottman Method of Couples Therapy is based on Dr. John Gottman’s research that began in the 1970’s and continues to this day. The research is focused on what makes relationships succeed or fail. From this research, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have created a method of therapy that emphasizes a “nuts-and-bolts’ approach to improving clients’ relationships.

This method is designed to help teach specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in your relationship. To help you productively manage conflicts, you will be given methods to manage “resolvable problems” and dialogue about “gridlocked” or (perpetual) issues. We will also work together to help you appreciate your relationship’s strengths and to gently navigate through it’s vulnerabilities.

 

 

 

Primary Counselling Stages

1Assessment 

Early in the assessment phase, you will be given some written materials to complete that will help us better understand your relationship. In the first sessions we will talk about the history of your relationship, areas of concern, and goals for treatment. In the next session, I will meet with you individually to learn each of your personal histories and to give each of you an opportunity to share thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. In the final session of the assessment phase, I will share with you my recommendation for treatment and work to define mutually agreed upon goals for your therapy.

4Outcome Evaluation

In the outcome-evaluation phase, as per the Gottman Method, four follow-up sessions are planned: one after six months, one after twelve months, one after eighteen months, and one after two years. These sessions have been shown through research to significantly decrease the changes of relapse into previous, unhelpful patterns. In addition, commitment to providing the best therapy possible requires ongoing evaluation of methods used and client progress. The purpose of these follow-up sessions then will be to fine-tune any of your relationship skills if needed, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy received.

2Treatment

Most of the work will involve sessions where you will be seen together as a couple, However, there my be times when individual sessions are recommended. I may also give you exercises to practice between sessions.

The length of therapy will be determined by your specific needs and goals. In the course of therapy, we will establish points at which to evaluate your satisfaction and progress. Also, I will encourage you to raise any questions or concerns that you have about therapy at any time.

3Phasing-Out & Termination

In the later stage of therapy, we will “phase out” or meet less frequently in order for you to test out new relationship skills and to prepare for termination of the therapy. Although you may terminate therapy whenever you wish, it is most helpful to have at least one session together to summarize progress, define the work that remains, and say good-bye.

Confidentiality

I view counselling as a partnership and during this collaborative journey I will provide you with a safe and confidential environment to explore difficult life issues. However, if I become concerned about your safety or the safety of others, or other’s property, then this confidentiality may be broken.

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