Counseling typically involves six sequential stages. These stages include:
The assessment stage of therapy includes clients getting to know your therapist and vice versa. This stage is for you to determine whether you trust your therapist enough to be vulnerable and share your thoughts and feelings.
Therapy is most effective when a client feels comfortable with their therapist. This stage also allows the therapist to gather information about the client including their presenting issue, history, needs and how the client is currently functioning.
After collecting information from the client, the therapist will then develop a mental health diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A diagnosis is required in order for insurance to cover counseling sessions.
During treatment planning, the therapist and client develop goals for the client to achieve throughout the therapeutic process.
Goals are typically specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive. This is an effective way for you and the therapist to measure your progress.
The counseling stage is where the fun happens. In this stage, you actively work on healing difficult material, processing traumatic events and enhancing your skills to build a greater sense of empowerment and enhance your well-being.
The client employs different therapeutic modalities including Cognitive-behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, etc.
The treatment modalities used are dependent on the needs of the client.
This stage allows you and the therapist to reflect on progress made, review goals and establish new ones if needed.
When you have achieved your goals and have processed initial issues, you are then ready for termination. The termination process is typically a few sessions in length that consist of you and your therapist reflecting on your therapeutic journey and accomplishments.
You and your therapist would then develop a plan to cope with future adversities. You and your therapist would also discuss feelings related to termination of services.
This stage can be difficult, as a strong relationship has most likely been developed with the therapist.