Define your goals. Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to write a list of events, relationship issues, or feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. Self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly.
Be an active participant. This is your counseling experience, so be as active as you can in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the counselor and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.
Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns, and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time, so change can be difficult and slow at times.
Ask questions. Ask questions about the counseling process, any methods used by the counselor, or about any other services at the Counseling Center. Your counselor is there to assist you.
Follow your counselor’s recommendations. Take the time between sessions to complete any activities suggested by your counselor. Counseling is intended to improve your life in the “real world,” so making efforts to try out and practice new behaviors, approaches, or ways of thinking could be a crucial element to the success of your counseling experience.
Learn more about when you should seek counseling.