Counseling Overview

My philosophy as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in South Jersey is illustrated by the following vignette:

1. A new client, possibly a teacher, arrives for his/her first session, somewhat nervous and in some distress.

2. Me: Sit wherever you want and take a minute to take in your surroundings (focusing on the present). We’ll begin your work today, but first let’s talk about some basic information about yourself — family, education, profession, etc.

3. Client responds and begins to relax.

4. Me: Now you’ve found me from a listing of Licensed Clinical Social Workers in South Jersey. Let me tell you about myself. (Relevant background and philosophy provided with emphasis on “guidance” and “support”, rather than “advice” or “teaching”.)

5. Me: Now please tell me what brings you here today.

6. Client: It’s a parent. I can’t do anything right in his eyes. He shows up angry and hostile at conferences. I don’t have tenure, so I’m afraid to defend myself. I’m starting to have trouble sleeping.

7. Me: So if you got exactly what you came for today, what would I be offering?

8. Client: You would be telling me what to do.

9. Me: It’s true that I’m an experienced Licensed Clinical Social Worker. If I told you what to do, would you do it?

10. Client: Well my friends and family have offered some great advice, but I never seem to follow it.

11. Me: Maybe it’s time to try something different.

12: Client: I’ll try anything. I’m getting desperate.

13: Me: I have faith in your wisdom. I believe you already know your options. I’ll help you explore them, so you can make the right decision.

14: Client: But I have no idea what to do.

15: Me: We’ll start the process of discovery next time. Between now and then, please write down all the options you’ve thought about. That will allow us to start the process of discovery. Then after six sessions, we’ll assess your progress and you’ll determine if you want to continue.