Joshua asked and I answered. Joshua's question: What do you do to prepare for meeting with someone for counseling?
Wayne’s answer: It varies depending on whether this is a first counseling session or suceeding counseling sessions. Let’s take it as a first counseling session. Here’s what I do before I even meet with them. Next time I’ll write about what I do right before the first session and during the first session.
1. Before we meet I set a specific time and place where we will meet and put it down on my calendar. I usually will give the person a note or dend them an emial reminding them of the time and place.
2. Before we meet I have them fill out a Personal Data Inventory – copies of which are found and my be downloaded from my web site www.mackministries.org in the free stuff section.
3. In addition to that I make sure that they get a copy of the Counselee Consent Awareness form which also can be downloaded from my web site. This form explains the kind of counseling we do, something about our credentials, what will happen in the counseling sessions, what to do if some disagreement arises between them and me. The form asks them to sign that they have read the contents and are in agreement with them and also they are asked to put a date on the form. I then ask them to give the signed copy to me. I then the signed form for my records and protection and then make a copy for them and give it to them. This form will aid them in taking away some of the suspense of not knowing what to expect from me or what will be expected of them. It is also serves a protective purpose for me in this litigious society. They can never say that they weren’t informed or that I took advantage of them or that they had not agreed to the procedure I will follow in counseling.
4. If possible I review the information that they give me on the Personal Data Inventory form prior to seeing them in my counseling room. The form will give me a lot of information about them that I would not otherwise know even if they were part of my church. I’ve found this form to be very helpful to me and to person I’m counseling in preparing us for a profitable counseling session. Having them fill out the form informs the person coming for help that I’m taking him and his problems seriously and that we’re not just getting together for social purposes so that we can have a nice little chit chat. It sets up the session so that after a little warming up period we can get right to work. On the form, along with filling in some background information and family and occupational and personality issues, the person is asked to answer such questions as: What is the problem with which you want help? What have you done about it? What do you want us to doabout it? Is there any other information you think we should know? I review the entire form and decide what areas of information I want to explore further. It provides a wonderful and smooth guideline for what happens in the first session.
5. As soon as we set up an appointment, I add them to my prayer list and include them and the counseling sessions in my prayer times.
*In the future I’ll discuss what I do right before the session and then during the first session, but that’s enough for now.