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What Issues Are Most Commonly Dealt With in Individual Counseling?
The motivating factors for someone to consider and engage in individual counseling fall on a massive spectrum from the most extreme crises to essentially wanting a one-on-one resource to help expedite personal growth. On this spectrum, some of the more common issues in Individual Counseling are the following:
These issues and more can effectively be addressed by individual counseling.
Should You Get Individual Counseling When Things Are Going Well?
Without a doubt, yes!
There are many people that choose to engage individual counseling when things are generally stable in their lives and benefit greatly from it! You might not be in crisis but you can see areas of your life in which you would like to see additional growth, joy, peace, and/or freedom. Alternatively, perhaps there is nothing specifically “wrong” with your life/your inner world but you just aren’t satisfied and can’t quite figure out why.
Individual counseling is a great resource to help you get some breakthrough that you haven’t quite been able to experience on your own. Also, when you haven’t been able to put your finger on exactly what you’re feeling or needing but you know you’re ready for change, it’s powerful to have a skilled professional help. Together you identify and go after growth and/or healing in things you may not otherwise have been able to effectively address on your own.
How Should You Choose a Counselor?
A great place to start is a referral from someone you trust and who knows you well. If that isn’t an option, it’s a great idea to create a list of the things that are important to you, your needs, and preferences in a counselor or counseling environment.
Some of the more basic parts of your list might be an acceptable price range, convenient location, and availability. More important are the counselor’s level of experience with your set of issues, their style of communication/ the *way* they share their input, and the spiritual values and principles that guide the counselor.
A few sample questions you might want to answer as you make your list and consider the kind of counselor you want to work with:
Your list can guide you in your very first interaction with the counselor (typically a relatively brief (~10-15 minute free phone call that is intended to give you the opportunity to see if this counselor is a good fit for you). The introductory phone call can yield a lot of clarity, especially if you are assertive with your questions. It may feel invasive to ask personal questions of the counselor but you are entrusting him with your heart and mind which are incredibly valuable. Don’t hesitate to ask away!
Also, if the fit seems right after your initial call but the price is too high, it’s appropriate to ask early on regarding any option to receive a reduced price. Don’t let that hold you back from getting the breakthrough waiting for you on the other side of individual counseling.
Is Individual Counseling Really Worth It?
With individual counseling, like many things in life, you will largely get out of it what you put into it. This is not to say you won’t be given remarkable and applicable wisdom, advice, tools, techniques, and resources – you WILL! The question really lies in how much of what you are given you are willing to put into practice. If you implement the counsel you are given by a skilled counselor, your life CAN be radically changed for the better!
It is generally helpful to identify at least a couple personal goals for your counseling before you get started. You’ll likely see these grow and change over time but starting with some concrete objectives can really help assure that you don’t leave without getting those things addressed. Then you’ll be able to more clearly see the “before and after” of your time in counseling and get the value you want out of this experience. Conversely, if your goals are NOT being met with a particular counselor after a reasonable period of time, it could be a good indicator that you might be better served by a different counselor.
A skilled counselor will help take you from where you are to where you want to be over the course of a number of sessions (the exact number of sessions will be dependent on your goals and the severity of the things with which you are dealing) and will be partnering with you to help you realize the highest possible good for your life.