I understand that beginning therapy can feel pretty intimidating. This may be your first time in counseling or you may have had experiences with therapy in the past. Either way, I want people to feel comfortable and have a stress-free experience as they get started. Below are answers to common questions that people often have about the counseling process and what to expect.
How do I / we get started? The first step is to schedule an appointment. You can contact me HERE to request an appointment and inquire about availability. Please note if you happen to reach out over a weekend or holiday I will respond the following business day. Once we have something on the schedule I will email you new client paperwork to complete and bring to your first visit. That email will also confirm your appointment time and provide detailed directions to the office.
What happens at the first session? If you are participating in relationship counseling, I will meet with you and your partner together at the first visit. From there, I will schedule an individual session with each partner to gather essential background information. Sessions from that point will be together. Our first session (whether you are a couple or individual) is for us to talk openly about your goals and desires. It is also a time for you to ask any questions about this process. The first session can be anxiety producing for clients because, let's face it, you don't know me yet! Who wouldn't be at least a little nervous?
Can I participate in relationship counseling by myself? Of course it is ideal if both partners can come in for counseling when desiring to work on their relationship. However, there are times when one partner is not ready or interested. Then what? There is a lot that can be learned about patterns in your relationship even if you are coming in by yourself. Keep in mind that if you are coming in by yourself, you are not solely responsible for the health of your marriage or relationship.
The model of counseling that I most use with couples is called Emotionally Focused Therapy. This is considered a gold standard approach for working with couples in distress. One aspect that I enjoy about this model is that it does not place blame on either partner but, rather, focuses on the patterns of interaction between partners. Many people are pleasantly surprised that our first conversations are different than what they feared or imagined.
What if our relationship needs help but we are not interested in counseling? If you are looking for something to help your relationship, yet not ready for therapy, we hold weekend educational intensives for couples throughout the year. My colleague, Dana Vince, and I facilitate powerful weekend workshops for couples called Hold Me Tight Knoxville, based on the book Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy. We are excited to also start facilitating Created for Connection workshops, which are designed for Christian Couples and based on the book Created for Connection by Dr. Sue Johnson and Kenny Sanderfer, LMFT.
Over two full days, you and your partner will learn powerful information that can help transform your relationship. Workshops are limited to 8 couples and, in addition to the educational piece, couples participate in private exercises that walk them through specific conversations. Trained EFT therapists are available for all couples throughout the weekend to help clarify concepts and help couples get untangled if they find they get stuck in an exercise.
Couples are repeatedly surprised by the level of transformation they experience in their relationship over just one weekend. To learn more about the workshop and to register for our next weekend event, please visit our Hold Me Tight Knoxville site HERE.
* The Hold Me Tight Knoxville workshop may not be appropriate for couples when there is an active affair taking place, a partner is actively engaged in an addiction or where partners are not invested in learning how to improve the health of their relationship. If you have questions about the workshop please contact me.