Part 1: Assessment and the Therapeutic Alliance
Part 2: Early Interventions and Reframing Patients’ Narratives
Part 3: Question/Answer Session
First sessions are about gathering information to understand what a given client or couple needs, and generating a tentative treatment approach. Our initial plan is developed on the run, designed to provide the experiences, information, perspective, and relationship we believe the client needs.
As we provide these things, the client reacts, both consciously and unconsciously. These reactions are themselves information that we process, refining our ideas of the client’s internal resources, current life, and clinical needs. This shapes our responses, helping us to further develop our plan.
There’s an inherent tension in first sessions: on the one hand, we want to collect information from patients they may not want to discuss, and may not have thought about for years (or ever). On the other hand, we want to demonstrate our sensitivity, caring, and understanding that this is a difficult process for clients. We want to establish the therapeutic partnership so indispensable to clinical success.
How do we pursue these hard-to-reconcile goals simultaneously? How do we do enough therapy to get people to return, without doing so much that they’re scared away?
In this webinar, we’ll explore:
- Developing a therapeutic alliance
- Helping clients articulate goals for therapy that are clear and useful
- Helping clients get a sense of what therapy with you will be like
- Discovering some of the key players in clients’ lives—including previous or current therapists
- The importance of finding out “why now”: the meaning of this client coming to see you at this time
- The importance of eliciting clients’ narratives about how they got into their current situation
- Four things we want to assess in every first session
- Features of ending an intake session that makes clients want to return
- Dealing with the temptation—or clients’ expectations—to do too much therapy too soon