What Happens in a Typical Counseling Session?

What Happens in a Typical Counseling Session?

by Lisa Davis, February 15, 2019

Counseling is an integral part of the services offered by Family Resources. We work with kids and teens process their emotions and reach a better understanding of their pain. Most people, regardless of their background, are nervous about going to their first counseling session. They aren’t sure what to expect and are worried about the work and emotional labor that lies ahead.

We talked with a few of our counselors to learn what a typical counseling session looks like so you can know what you’re getting into and feel less intimidated stepping through our doors. Take a deep breath, you are about to begin a journey of healing and understanding.

All Parties Have a Chance to Be Heard

Listening is one of the main roles of our counselors. We want to provide a space for participants to share their thoughts, experiences, and stories in a comfortable space. During a typical counseling session, we start by facilitating a space where participants can express themselves and feel heard —  something they might not have experienced for months.

Both parents and children have a fair chance to speak. Sometimes this is the first time they really hear each other in months or years.

Encouraging participants to share their experiences and feelings isn’t easy. Sometimes this can take multiple sessions. Sometimes our counselors will focus on a particular feeling or idea to explore its roots. The goal is for both parties to have a clear voice and feel like they are listened to.  

Participants Review Past Hurts

Once the participants feel like they are heard, our counselors work to review past sources that have negatively affected the individual family members even today.

In some cases, teens have suppressed their emotions and use coping mechanisms to bury the hurt. In other cases, parents or kids refuse to put the past behind them because something feels unresolved.

Our counselors work slowly and carefully with participants. These memories and feelings are gently revealed, nurtured, and given a new significance and meaning. Participants walk away with new connections and fresh perspectives of the events that occurred.   This is not an easy process, but it important to understand where the feelings come from and how it manifests itself.

Everyone is Challenged to Reach Their Potential

Our counselors have to walk a delicate tightrope when working with teens. They want to give participants space to grow their comfort levels and build trust with our team, but they also want to push youth and their parents to reach their full potential.

Our counselors will guide you to dig deeper on how you feel about certain topics and explore what thoughts drive you to feel that way. They will introduce ideas and activities during a typical counseling session to see how you respond to them. The goal is to walk away with a better understanding of yourself, your family, and your circumstances.

Counselors Offer Objective Perspectives and Ideas

Professional counseling allows individuals and families to seek out a clear, objective perspective of their situation. Our counselors don’t think anyone is perfect or completely flawed. They know that there are multiple parts to every story and work to review the various facts and feelings that come with past trauma.

It is hard for families to hear each other and discuss past trauma in a clear and objective way. It is natural to feel defensive or guilty about past behaviors. Our counselors create space to build healthy discussions and validate feelings so participants can learn to cope with their trauma and eventually move on.

Participants Receive Homework to Continue Their Growth

Even when the counseling session ends, the work isn’t done. Most of our counselors will assign homework in the form of small activities for families or individuals to try during the week. We want to build a secure foundation for communicating and expressing feelings in a healthy way.

Some of the homework may seem basic at first (or even silly) but it is meant to establish good habits that you can use in the future.

Our counseling services are free for most families and affordable for all. Take the first steps toward a healthy home environment or good mental health by calling us today to ask about an appointment.