A lot of people ask, "How do I get the most out of my counseling experience?" There are several things that I would suggest that you do regardless of who you go to. The first thing I would suggest is summarized in the following story in the Bible from the Gospel of John, Chapter 5, verses 2-9:
"Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, 'Do you want to get well?'"
(I want to pause a moment here for just a second. Think about it again. Here is a man who has been paralyzed from the waste down for over 38 years and has hoped for a healing miracle from this pool in Bethesda. Why this pool? Every once in a while, the water in the pool whould be touched by the Holy Spirit and it would stir up with enough healing power to completely heal the first person that is able to get into the pool. This man had been hoping to be the first one in for 38 years!! Jesus knowing all of this then asks him, "Do you want to get well?" In today's vernacular, the man probably was thinking, "Well.... duh!!?!"
Instead, the man, probably knowing who Jesus was, respectfully tells Jesus his excuse as to why he hadn't been healed yet.
"The sick man said, 'Sir, when the water is stirred, I don't have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.'
(Another pause for thought: Since Jesus knew all of this information in advance, do you really think He was asking, "Do you want to get well?" In the simplest terms, or might He have been saying something a little more insightful? I think He was asking, "Do you really want to get well? I mean really ?" Then Jesus told him what he had to do.)
Jesus said, 'Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.'
(Now in this moment, the man had to make a choice to do something with what Jesus said. He had to begin to get up... As soon as he began, his toe moved, then his foot, then his ankle. His muscles started to work again! Then he bent his knee, then the other leg began working and he was able to stand up for the first time, probably in his life! Hope that he could be healed began with the first toe that he moved and continued until he was up and walking around!! Amazing! The text goes on to say,)
The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off."
So what does this have to do with you making the best of your counseling experience?
Well, let me begin by asking you Jesus first question, "Do you really, (and I do mean really), want to get well?"
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I have had many clients that were just giving lip service to the counseling effort, so if anyone asked them if they went to counseling, they could say. "yes, but it didn't help." No matter who your counselor is, if they are meeting with you once a week, then you are on your own for the other 167 hours of the week. This is when the real work happens, not during the session. You have to apply what you learn to real life circumstances. In other words, you are going to do the lions share of the work. You have got to be willing to do the work in order to reap the rewards of your counseling efforts. If you really want to do better in your life, your relationships or your career, you are going to have to commit the emotional energy to growing in every area of your life.
To me, this is the first key to having a successful counseling experience.
Secondarily, you need to find the right counselor with the right experience and background in what you need to work on. Do not be afraid to ask about their educational background, have they had success with other clients with your issue(s), or what are their areas of developed expertice. Your first call is a mutual interview in order to find the right counselor. Finding the right counselor is much more important than finding the right price.
Finally, do they really care about you being successful? Are they solution focused to help you get on your way? Honestly, some issues take longer than others to find a successful outcome. Some issues, frankly, you are just going to learn to manage better so that you can lead a more fulfilling life. Some issues will require ongoing "tune ups" to keep you on track. There is a difference when you find someone that you know is rooting for you and yet is willing to confront those issues that are holding you back.
Obviously, I believe that these values are the core of why I do what I do.
Give me a call to see if we can work together! 562-989-HOPE (4673).