Starting counseling can feel overwhelming and intimidating. You might have anxiety about the “unknowns,” or fear and trepidation about getting into tough topics and emotions. Here is some information to help you feel a little more comfortable with the process.
- Your first appointment is an “intake” appointment, where we spend most of the time gathering information about your life history, childhood experiences, relationship history, medical and health past, and family history. We will start with reviewing confidentiality and privacy policies, and work through any questions you may have. We will also define some goals or hopes you have for counseling, and define what you would like to feel or experience on the other side of the process.
- It’s normal to feel a variety of emotions before, during, and after therapy sessions, ranging from excitement and hope to anxiety and dread. It’s expected that you might feel everywhere on the spectrum. I encourage you to bring all those feelings into the session and be honest about them. It is really helpful for us to pay attention to those feelings and build a sense of security and safety for you.
- It’s normal to “have things get worse before they get better” as you begin exploring material in your life. It’s important to know that experiencing an increase in emotional or physical symptoms is actually an important and natural part of the healing process. Good news is that phase won’t last forever. We will work through those ups and downs at your pace.
- I encourage you to share what is working or not working for you in therapy. I will ask this question pretty regularly, and address any issues that might not feel right for you. I value your thoughts, feelings and opinions and believe addressing issues is vital for best outcomes in therapy.
I am located at 108 SE 124th Avenue, Vancouver, WA in suite 19. There is ample parking at the location, which is also ADA accessible and provides gender neutral bathrooms.
When you arrive, you may take a seat in the waiting area where several chairs are available and I will greet you when it is your appointment time. Please continue to wear masks in the common areas regardless of vaccination status. The doors at our location are remaining locked until 9am, so just shoot me a text if you arrive a minute early and I will be sure to meet you at the door.
Please see the COVID protocol below to prepare for in-person sessions.
Counseling by video is a secure way to attend counseling sessions in the midst of COVID restrictions, travel or schedule issues, or if you are home with small children. Here are a few ways to prepare for a video session:
- You will receive a link to your video session via email. This is a secure, HIPAA compliant platform especially designed for therapy sessions.
- It’s best to use a computer or larger screen for sessions, but if you have to use a phone, you will be prompted to download the Simple Practice Video app. Please have a secure place for your phone to rest. This last point is really for me, as I get a bit nauseous if I’m “carried” around!
- Plan to have a private space where you can close a door while in session. I don’t recommend having a video session in your car, as it lacks the privacy you may desire for the sort of material we might cover. Alas, if it is a last resort, it is better than nothing!
- Be sure to have high speed internet and your charger available.
- If the call drops, I will try you again, or if I am unable to reach you, will call you by phone.
- Plan for your environment to be as comfortable and calming as possible. I recommend having tissues at hand, and blankets or other comforts you might like.
- Last but not least, plan for a few minutes before and after sessions for some “transition” time back into your environment. A few minutes to reflect, journal, breathe or splash some water on your face before heading back into normal life is really helpful since you don’t have drive time as a “transition” before or after sessions.
Community safety and your health are my priority. Here is what to expect if you plan to come to in-person sessions:
- You will receive a brief COVID questionnaire via text each week in addition to the COVID waiver you will receive in your initial paperwork. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, we can schedule a secure video session in lieu of an in-person session. If you do not wish to receive a text, I can send the message via secure messaging via the Simple Practice app or by email.
- I will wear a mask if you are unvaccinated, and will expect unvaccinated clients to wear a mask in session. If this is an issue for you due to any trauma triggers or issues with difficulty reading facial cues, please let me know.
- I will continue to sanitize the office between sessions. This includes using disinfecting wipes on all surfaces, tissue boxes, couch, etc. I run a HEPA filter at all times. I position my seat at least 6 feet from the couch to ensure adequate physical distance for your safety.
- I unfortunately will not accept or give hugs or handshakes. Even if you are vaccinated and I totally know you are “okay”, I will have to wait on any physical touch for the foreseeable future.
Let’s do this, together.
Send me an email (or text me at 360-818-8322) and I will be in touch.