therapy faqs - counseling explained

What are the five stages of counseling?

Counseling is a process that brings about change – but it doesn’t happen all at once! Most therapists follow a set of five basic stages from the beginning to the end of the therapeutic process. Knowing this outline in advance can help you know what to expect and be prepared for as you enter therapy for the first time…

The Counseling Process

The counseling process is collaborative. The counselor does not fix the client; the work requires interaction and commitment from both parties. (Krishnan)

Stage 1 – Rapport Building/Initial disclosure

Your therapist will get to know you and you get to know them. You’re not going to share your life story or your deepest, darkest traumas during this stage. You’re just building the relationship and trust here. Your therapist will also go over the housekeeping items like confidentiality and appointment making, etc.

Stage 2 – Problem assessment/History taking

Your therapist will get a little deeper here. This is when you’ll dive into what brought you into therapy, what your traumas are, where you’re struggling, where you feel stuck, and what causes you stress or anxiety. Your therapist will assess your current state of mental health and determine your mental health history as well.

Stage 3 – Goal setting/Introducing health patterns of care/Commitment to action

This is when you decide with your therapist how you’d like to move forward with your life. You may be in therapy for six weeks, six years, or anything in between. The timeframe isn’t so much the goal as the results you wish to accomplish. Do you want to manage your depression? Do you want to become a better communicator? Are you trying to heal past traumas? Your therapist will identify modalities to successfully achieve the results you’re looking for.

Stage 4 – Counseling Intervention (start the work – EMDR, DBT, etc…)

This is when therapy starts. This is when the work begins and when we dive in deep. Your therapist will guide you through the process, reminding you of the goals that you discussed in stage 3. This stage is when you’ll begin to see changes and begin to feel unstuck, and healing takes place.

Stage 5 – Evaluation, Integration, Graduation

Once you’ve achieved the goals you set in stage 3, your therapist will reassess with you and discuss if you want to continue therapy or if you are ready to graduate and continue managing your mental health on your own using the tools you’ve learned. In either case, your therapist will always be on your team for healing and well-being.

How to get started with counseling

We’ll start by arraging a free phone consultation with you an one of our trusted thereapist. You'll briefly discuss your needs and decide if you'd like to process with booking a session. Many clients opt for a combination of online and in-office sessions; others choose one or the other as their schedule demands - we offer both to suit your needs!

We offer online therapy to Arizona residents and in-person therapy for those in the Scottsdale are - and we are currently accepting new clients.

Take the first step today...

At Claibourne Counseling, we offer a supportive and collaborative environment – we’re here to help when you’re ready!