What's your approach?
Individual and Couples Counseling | Columbia, Mo
While there are multiple approaches in individual counseling (and couples counseling), here's the down and dirty of what you can expect when you work with one of the counselors (our team) at The Counseling Hub.
- Counselors give in-the-moment feedback.
This means you get direct, honest feedback on the things that are showing up in sessions. One of the basic assumptions of The Counseling Hub is that people will show up consistently in all aspects of life (on average). This means that if a person comes in because they're struggling with relationships and opening up, then they're probably going to struggle with the client-counselor relationship and will likely struggle opening up. For that reason, one of the most effective ways of doing therapy is in-the-moment feedback.
- Clients can (and are encouraged to) give feedback.
Additionally, it goes both ways. Your counselor should specifically ask you questions on how the sessions are going for you, on how the relationship is between the two of you, and on how you're feeling about the counseling process. We want to know how your experience is, and that doesn't mean we want to hear you say nice things to us. Nope. It means that we actually want to know how counseling is going for you and how you're experiencing things in-the-moment.
- Nothing is taboo.
I would assume this goes without saying, but it's probably worth sharing. Nothing in therapy is considered taboo. Nothing. [Important side note: there are exceptions to confidentiality.] Sex, politics, religion, ethnicity, ability status, sexual orientation - you name it, we can talk about it. Obviously, your counselor is not going to force you to talk about these things, but it should be known that the counseling (metaphorical) space is safe and that any and all topics are open for discussion.
- Everything serves a function.
One of the core assumptions of The Counseling Hub is that the behaviors clients bring in to the sessions more often than not serve a function, and it's our job to figure out what function it serves.
Here's what we mean. When a person comes in and wants to get rid of their bad habit (be creative and fill in your own bad habit for "bad habit"), we assume that the bad habit is there for a reason and has helped this client for some length of time. While we would also like the client to get rid of their bad habit, we immediately respect that bad habit because it has been helpful. We don't label it as bad, we don't judge it, we don't see it as shameful - we simply notice that it's something that the client wants to get rid of and is causing distress in some way. If the bad habit is no longer serving the client, then we work to get rid of it. However, and importantly, we don't see it as weird, useless, or a horrible thing. Again, we see it as serving a function more than anything. And, at this point (the point of entering into counseling), it's function has been served and it's time to find a new, more helpful and healthy, habit.
- Your counselor is not a magical unicorn who belches fairy dust and farts rainbows (although that would be awesome).
Maybe this goes without saying, but some clients expect their counselor to a) have all the answers and b) give them the answers. Well, I'm sorry to burst your panacea bubble, but that is just not the case and doesn't happen at The Counseling Hub (there are more myths about counseling, too, but the above are very common!).
One of the foundational premises of The Counseling Hub is that your answers, your growth, your story, is something that lies within you. We are not here to force you to grow or to dictate how you grow - we are here to help you see that your strength and answers are internal. Sometimes, they seem hard to find and that's okay. They exist. They are there. We can help you unearth them. But we can't, and we won't, give you answers or advice. This is your life and we want to empower you to live it in the fullest way you can.
- It's all part of the process.
This may be one of our favorite mantras and another foundational premise of The Counseling Hub. In short, everything is a growth process in some way. This means that the unpleasant and uncomfortable things we experience are just as much a part of life as the fun, light, and joyous times. It's all par for the course, it's all grist for the mill (Yalom reference), and it's all just part of the process. Growth is a process that takes time, effort, intention, and attention. As is change, as are relationships, as is personal development - all of these are various processes that can (and do) occur in the counseling setting.
One last piece is that The Counseling Hub approach and philosophy is not the same as all other counselors. If you're shopping around for a counselor, then I would recommend asking the approach of any counselor that you are looking into working with (we'd also recommend asking about their qualifications). Asking about their approach will give you an idea of who they are, how they practice, and what's important in the counseling process.