Counseling is an effective process for overcoming a wide range of issues (emotional, social, career/academic, relational). These issues often manifest as anxiety, depression, anger, and trauma. Whether you are pursuing individual therapy, couples counseling, or participating in a workshop or small group experience, it’s important to understand the relationship between the counselor and the client.

Let’s discover why this matters and what it means when you make the choice to engage in counseling.

Trust Matters.
The Therapeutic Alliance: It’s important to feel a sense of connection to your therapist. For counseling to be effective, you need to feel safe and comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with your counselor. The more open and honest you are, the deeper the work goes. This is fundamental to change at the core level.

Unconditional Positive Regard: It’s important to know your therapist is on your side. It’s the counselor’s job to truly understand you and play off of your strengths. Your counselor operates from a place of non-judgment, and aims to understand your perspective/worldview. This doesn’t mean your counselor won’t challenge your faulty logic, it simply means your counselor won’t judge you.

Confidentiality: Anything discussed within the meetings between a counselor and her client is kept confidential, unless the client is a risk to himself or others. Then, safety comes first.

At times, it may be appropriate for a counselor to consult/collaborate with another professional to provide the best standard of care. This will only be done with written client consent and involves filling out a release of information consent form.

It’s common and perhaps understandable to believe that when you attend counseling or therapeutic workshops you will receive advice from the counselor. This is not the case, nor it should it be. A counselor is there to guide and listen. A counselor is there to help you find your own answers. Self-determination is every client’s right.

Finally, it’s important to note that there are boundaries between the counselor and the client. For instance, an individual proceeding through individual therapy will not be able to access the counselor outside of the therapeutic setting (with the exception of emergencies or scheduling appointments). A counselor will not accept friend requests or forms of social media followings. The counselor-client relationship is unique and does not allow for engagement outside of the office. These boundaries will be a vital aspect of a contractual agreement between the two parties.