Counseling Office Etiquette Tips
Now that counseling has become more common and is no longer limited to the Psychoanalyst’s couch it’s beneficial to become familiar with some basic protocol for the counseling office. Today its essential to be in the know when it comes to how we write our emails, tweets and social media posts. It’s also important to know the ropes when it comes to working your counseling sessions. Here is a heads up about some of the areas that cause the most confusion in the counseling office.
- Check before your first session to see if there are forms to complete to get the information gathering process started. They may be found on line, be emailed or brought to the first session.
- The waiting room should be preserved as a quiet zone meant for everyone to transition from daily life and prepare for introspection. It is best to limit conversation and definitely not a place to hash out any disagreements.
- Be mentally prepared for your sessions. Think about the areas that you want to work on and how you want to improve in your life. If possible be able to communicate your goal in coming to counseling. This is your time! Make it work for you!
- Know and budget the cost. Check in with your insurance provider to determine if your sessions will be covered. Know your co-pay and or deductible. Does the counselor accept credit card payment? What is the cost per session if Insurance refuses payment? Be financially prepared.
- Do your Homework! If the counselor asks you to complete an exercise or reading between sessions, get it done. Counseling is most effective when you are “all in”. We learn best by doing and you won’t be getting the most for your time and money if you don’t fully participate.
- Although your counselor cares about you and your life, your relationship is a professional one. Personal gifts and personal questions are not appropriate in this arena.
Now you are ready to dive in and make that appointment. It is never easy to put your life and yourself under examination. As Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living” and the Greeks stated “know thyself”, showing us throughout history that as humans we can all use some introspection to discover how to live our best life.
Robin Wise, MA, LPC