A Typical Session of Psychotherapy

It is perhaps helpful to describe, in a general sense, how we do the work. Except for brief and rare exceptions involving crises, sessions typically do not involve me telling my client what I think the client should do or how to behave. Rather, the sessions affirm the client’s intelligence, potential and achieved success. We devote our energy both to identifying the client’s successes and the reasons for them, and we also seek to uncover the ways in which the individual’s innate abilities have been stifled or blocked. I strive always to be compassionate and warm, but also to be firm as a motivator because effective psychotherapy requires careful self-examination. This is why my work involves much more than compassion and warmth. The kindness I exhibits is sincere, but it is also functional: it lays the foundation for the work.

Initial session goals

The client reads, asks questions regarding, and then signs the Consent for Treatment Form. I then discuss the limits of confidentiality. The payment procedures (amount, method and timeliness) and cancellation policy are discussed, as well. I also ask every client to discuss the client’s reason for pursuing this work. In the first session, I try to elicit all information necessary for the Initial Intake, but sometimes more intake sessions are necessary. I will discuss methods to be used to treat the problem, the client and I will set goals, we will create a work agreement (goals, frequency of sessions, initial time commitment), and we will discuss initial between-session work the client can do, if it is appropriate.

Typical session Activities

In a typical session, I would discuss the client’s progress/reactions to the client’s between-session work. I would also identify issues/experiences that the client wants to discuss during this session. For instance, I will generally seek to discuss recent emotional reactions the client experienced and the experiences surrounding those reactions. My client and I will also address the primary issues underlying the therapy work and we will review and consolidate the gains from the present session.
Finally, we’ll discuss between-session work the client can choose to do in order to facilitate continued change and growth.