How to Prepare for Counseling

Written by: Sung Woo “Tom” Kim, M.S.
How to Prepare for Counseling

Going to counseling may bring up all different kinds of emotions for you. You may be anxious, excited, nervous, or scared. Whatever you may or may not be feeling… it is completely alright! You are welcome to counseling!

In today’s post, I want to help you prepare for counseling and pose some questions you may want to ask yourself to make the most out of your counseling experience!

  1. Why should I go in for counseling?

This can be a very loaded question, and you might be able to think of millions of reasons. Mental health is complicated, and our vocabulary often cannot fully describe our feelings, our experiences, and our hopes for ourselves.

If this is a difficult question for you, I would recommend writing down 2-3 recurring experiences that you have had that troubled you. For example, “I tend to get easily frustrated”… “My head hurts from thinking about what I want to do with my career”… “I seem to have lost interest in some of my daily activities.”

  1. What do I want in my counseling experience?

I will tell you from the beginning, counseling is not easy. Counseling can be difficult and irritating, but that is because counseling has a great potential for healing. Counseling uses scientific evidence-based interventions that have been used to treat various presenting issues. It is a field that is constantly being researched, tested, and developed. Your counselor has upheld rigorous standards to be able to hold a counseling license and is eager to walk alongside you to get to where you want to be.  Feel free to ask your counselor about their specialties or clinical experience.

Here are some questions you may want to think about as you choose a counselor and what you want in your counseling experience.

  • Can the counselor address my concerns?
  • Do I feel safe and comfortable to disclose to the counselor of my choice?
  • Can the environment (with the counselor and the setting) be a healing space for me?
  1. Am I ready?

To make the most out of the counseling experience, it will require some work. The counselor may challenge you by giving you homework or activities to try at home or may ask you to talk about some memories or experiences that bring up uncomfortable emotions.  Counselors are eager to work with you and want to make sure you are growing and improving throughout the sessions! Here is a checklist to make sure you are ready!

  • Am I willing to be honest and open to not only share with my counselor my experiences but also to accept any challenges and feedback?
  • Am I willing to commit to attending sessions and being present in the sessions?
  • Am I willing to invest in counseling in hopes to better myself?

If you answered yes, GREAT! Let’s get started 😊