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What to Expect in Your First Session
The purpose of the first session is for you and your therapist to get to know each other. She will ask you questions to help her understand where you struggle, where you excel, and what goals you have for therapy. It's important that you answer as honestly as possible. If you have questions for your therapist, this is the perfect time to ask. As you talk to her, think about whether you feel comfortable with her and whether she seems familiar enough with your concerns to provide effective care.
In the first couples session, Michelle meets with both partners. She will take a history of the relationship, ask about strengths and concerns, and get to know both partners as well as giving them an opportunity to get to know her and ask any questions. Michelle will ask about goals for treatment and explain her clinical approach.
Next, Michelle will meet with each member of the couple individually in order to take a thorough assessment history, Although this is an individual session, it is important to remember that Michelle maintains a no secrets policy between members of a couple. While she can help you share information that your partner does not know, she will not hold secrets.
Subsequent meetings will almost exclusively involve both partners. While limited exceptions exist, Michelle for the most part does not meet individually with people involved in couple's counseling with her. This is meant to ensure a trusting, safe clinical environment.
Before meeting with children, Michelle meets with parents/caregivers in order to take a full history. Meeting without children present allows for a thorough intake without worry that children will be exposed to information that is not appropriate for them to hear.
Typically, Michelle asks that a child and one or more caregivers attend the second session. Michelle will get to know the child and help him/her feel safe in the therapeutic space.
In the third session, Michelle will want to meet with the caregiver(s) again to ask follow-up questions, share initial impressions, and collaborate on a treatment plan.