How to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience

Counseling is a shared journey to personal growth.

Counseling is most helpful when you are willing to change and willing to be open and honest about your feelings. In counseling, the more you share your thoughts and feelings about yourself, your problems, and the counseling process itself, the more you are likely to benefit.

To get the most out of counseling:

Define your goals.Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. Consider events, relationship concerns, or feelings you think contribute to your stress. Take time to envision what you hope to achieve in relationships and life, and consider goals you have. Self-exploration and change involve challenging yourself to discover and try new behaviors and ways of interacting, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will assist you to safely navigate through your concerns and challenges.

Be an active participant. This is your counseling experience so actively choose how to spend your time. Choose what is most important to talk about. Be honest and give the counselor feedback about how you see the counseling sessions progressing.

Be patient. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. Your understanding of the world, coping skills, behavior patterns, and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time. It takes time to become aware of patterns and to reflect and change.

Ask questions. Ask questions about the counseling process, the experience, knowledge, and theory of psychology of the counselor, or about any other services at Counseling Services. Your counselor is there to assist you.

Follow your counselor’s recommendations. Counseling is collaborative. Goals are developed through conversation, as are action plans. Take the time between sessions to complete any activities developed by you and your counselor. Counseling is intended to improve your life in the “real world.” Try out and practice new behaviors, approaches, or ways of thinking.

Coming to the Counseling Center often marks a student's first experience in counseling. Your counselor will expect you to have questions about the counseling process and will be pleased to answer them.