As a potential or new client, you may have some questions about how to begin and what to expect in counseling. The beginning steps may seem quite intimidating — sharing personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with a complete stranger would be enough to raise anxiety in anyone. Rest assured, those of us at Agape Christian Counseling Services desire to walk with you through any struggles you may have.
What is the first step?
The first step is to complete an intake. We will gather some information from you, about your specific needs and preferences, and our intake coordinators will match you with a counselor who would be the best fit for you. Intakes usually take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete and can be completed online, by clicking on the button below.
What information will I need to complete my intake?
We will ask for some basic information, such as your name and contact info, your preferences for locations and time of day, whether you have a preference of the gender of your counselor, and most importantly, we will ask a little bit about what brings you in for counseling. This will help us to match you with a counselor who can best meet your needs. If you already know what counselor you would like to see, you can request a counselor by name, during your intake.
We will also ask you to provide the name of your insurance company, and your member ID, so that we can match you with a counselor who takes your insurance plan. When possible, we will find out your benefits before your first session. If you do not have insurance, we also offer a sliding fee scale option. The sliding fee scale is based on two things: 1) your total annual household income 2) the number of people within the household.
Our goal is to match you with a counselor who fits well with your needs, including expertise in the areas of your focus, as well as scheduling, insurance or sliding fee amount, and even personality. If for any reason, at all, you do not feel that the counselor you were matched with is a good fit for you, please let us know and we will re-match you with someone who is a better fit.
What is the initial session going to be like?
Your first session is a time for your counselor to get to know you. There will often be some paperwork and ‘housekeeping’ involved, but you will also get to share your story and your reason for coming to counseling. You and your counselor will discuss your goals and chart a course for therapy.
Paperwork and/or Housekeeping Items may include:
- Completing the Client Information Packet
- Presenting your insurance card, or discussing your sliding fee scale amount
- Reviewing the Policies/Procedures and Confidentiality Agreement with your therapist
- Discuss your goals/objectives for your therapy sessions with your therapist and ask any questions you may have
- Agree upon on session frequency and schedule your next appointment
What is a typical session like at Agape Christian Counseling Services?
Counseling sessions at Agape Christian Counseling Services typically last 45 – 55 minutes. During this time, you and your counselor will examine the subject matter that brings you into counseling. Often, this involves looking at current behavior and thought patterns as well as possibly exploring historical areas such as past family or social relationships. Because human behavior is multifactorial, counselors at Agape Christian Counseling Services take a holistic approach to counseling, examining the cognitive, behavioral, relational, emotional, Neuropsychobiological, biophysical, family of origin, environmental, circumstantial, past experiences, and spiritual.
Most clients meet with their counselor on a weekly basis, although arrangements can be made to meet more often, or less often, depending on the situation. The counseling process does involve some commitment, as it often lasts, at minimum, about 6 to 8 weeks.
What do I do as a client?
By addressing and dealing with these areas you are beginning to take steps toward growth and healing. One important aspect of counseling is your level of participation. The common phrase, “You get out what you put in,” definitely applies here. At times, the counseling process may be challenging and may bring up issues and feelings that you would rather avoid. However, by addressing and dealing with these areas you are beginning to take steps toward healing and wholeness.
What else do I need to know?
All counselors at Agape Christian Counseling Services St. Louis adhere to a strict code of ethics, including confidentiality. In order to provide a safe and open place for you to share your struggles, Agape Christian Counseling Services counselors will not share your personal information or anything discussed in session without your permission. (Certain limitations on confidentiality do apply — see your counselor for elaboration on these areas.)
We, here at Agape Christian Counseling Services, are excited about the possibility of working with you. We want this to be a warm and inviting experience for you; as such, if you have any questions about our agency or counselors, don’t hesitate to ask. We would be glad to answer any questions you may have!