Your First Counseling Session
Essential information to prepare for your first session with your therapist at OnlyYouForever
Greetings! We are glad you will be working with us at OnlyYouForever! Before you get started, we would like to provide some information about our counseling service. Our hope is to help you achieve your goals for improved well-being and healthier relationships. The work we do together is for your personal and relational benefit. It will be conducted in a professional manner and is not intended to serve legal purposes such as divorce, child custody, or workplace conflict settlements.
We meet with clients who have a broad range of needs and one thing we have come to see is that they all have the capacity to resolve their own problems. This includes you!
Counseling is available in either 60- or 90-minute sessions and you can discuss which option might be the best fit for you during your first session with your counselor. Sessions will begin promptly at the time indicated and confirmed on the calendar but regardless of when they start, they must end a few minutes early so that your therapist has time to complete session notes. Typically, the first 1-2 sessions involve you helping your therapist to understand your situation and then agreeing on what the goals for therapy should be. Each session thereafter is dedicated to working towards those goals. There is no limit on the number of counseling sessions. However, periodic reviews about the progress of therapy will be a part of our conversations.
Video counseling by its very nature is not the same as face-to-face counseling. Video counseling has some great advantages such as access to a greater choice of therapists, reduced travel time and expense, and, of course, increased convenience, but it also carries some risks you need to be aware of. For instance:
- the risk of your counselor not being aware of your physical location and so not being able to direct help to you should you need it;
- the risk of a potential release of private information stored on your own devices through viruses and scams;
- the risk of our conversation being overheard by anyone near you should you not place yourself in a private area.
Our commitment to you is to provide a secure electronic medium through which to offer your therapy, a secure means of protecting your personal information, and a private location from which to speak with you. Should you partner with your therapist to do the same and confirm to them your physical location at each session, the risks are very low; however, these are issues to consider prior to beginning video counseling.
We use a healthcare-enabled version of Zoom® for secure, Internet-based video calls with you. The purpose of these policies is to educate you on the use of Zoom® as a medium to provide you with therapy.
- Please have Zoom® installed and ready to go prior to our first session together by visiting https://zoom.us/download
- We also recommend you try a test call well before our first session: https://zoom.us/test
- Please use a laptop or tablet where possible. It should be set up or propped up in a fixed position (preferably a desk or table) to prevent your counselor from getting motion sickness! Also please be sure you are in a well-lit, private location that will be free from interruption and has limited background noise.
- For individual sessions, we require you to use earbuds or a headset with a microphone: this ensures nobody can overhear what we say and also saves us from experiencing distracting feedback and other background noise so that we can focus on helping you.
- We cannot ensure the security of your device or the connection between us as we do not have any control over whether or not the connection is secure.
- Zoom® will not be set up to record our actual communications, but it does record and share identifying information about its users and about their internet traffic patterns. **Please note that it is unethical to record sessions unless you obtain the written permission of both client(s) and counselor.
- You are responsible to read and agree to all of Zoom’s terms & conditions, rules, regulations, and limitations.
- Video counseling cannot be done safely while driving. Please be aware that your counselor will disconnect the call if you choose to drive during the call.
- You must make arrangements to have no distractions or interruptions during your session. Also, I highly recommend your cell phone be kept in another room or turned off completely during the session. The “buzz” of a text message can very easily disrupt your process and distract you from valuable insight.
- A couple of minutes prior to the start of the appointment time, please join the meeting. Your counselor will join as soon as they are able and are almost always punctual.
- You will not hold your counselor responsible for any technical issues or other issues beyond their control resulting in a breach of confidentiality.
- You cannot use Zoom® or your counselor's phone number as a method to contact them in case of an emergency. In the case of an emergency, you must dial 911.
Your fee is set via our scheduling system (including tax, where applicable) and is charged to your card following each session. A valid credit card is required in order to continue our sessions together. We cannot barter for services or accept other forms of payment.
You may terminate the sessions by advising your therapist in writing or during one of your calls together. Where possible, it is advisable to have a termination session together to consolidate learning and celebrate goals that have been achieved.