Most of our clients work with us for 12-18 sessions. Here is what one can expect in the beginning:
20-minute free consultation: This is a great way to check out the therapy practice without feeling obligated or monetarily committed. Potential clients can come and see the office, make sure the location fits their lifestyle and that they feel comfortable. Research shows that most clients report positive outcomes based on whether they like and feel comfortable with the therapist, regardless of methods, modalities, or even years of experience. With that in mind, we like to empower clients to seek out what makes them most comfortable knowing that therapy is never a “one-size fits all” operation.
First session: Cascadia Family Therapy has a one-page client information form that gets filled out at the first session. We then go over and sign the Professional Disclosure Statement, a form all therapists are required to have outlining policies regarding confidentiality and other standards of care. The paper work takes about 5-10 minutes to go over.
The rest of the first session is spent getting to know the client and their concerns. While listening we also use this time to reflect back what we are hearing and begin to share how we conceptualize what clients are saying. It is important for clients to correct us if they are feeling misunderstood or offer more information if we are not grasping the whole picture.
Therapy progression: I think of therapy as having three phases.
- The first is to get to know the client and their context including important relationships and set a goal for therapy.
- The second is to start to work on new ways of thinking about the problem and to try out “new ways of being.” Whether this is as simple as speaking and thinking differently about the problem or as difficult as changing the way the client acts in a particular situation, it is a time of adjustment. During this phase I prefer to see clients on a regular basis. As a client begins to change there is often some “troubleshooting” that needs to occur. This is the bulk of the therapy work. It is a process of changing so it sometimes feels like two steps forward, three steps back, but eventually clients begin to develop momentum. I usually notice this happening between sessions 10 and 12.
- The last phase is one of maintenance. This is where I encourage clients to start to put more space in between sessions and start to gain confidence in their new way of being.