At the onset, most people come to counseling sessions once a week for 60 minute sessions and continue weekly until stress levels are reduced considerably. Thereafter, we will discuss frequency of visits.
The initial visit will be spent discussing the reason for seeking therapy and getting acquainted with one another. We will also discuss any questions or reservations you have about counseling. Your comfort level is a very important aspect of your therapy. It is important that you feel safe and know that you are in a place of healing. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life and your personal history relevant to your issue.
Our second visit will continue much as the first. We will further discuss family- of-origin, health, behavioral, and spiritual history and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. After a better understanding of the issues, we will discuss the course of treatment that would be most beneficial. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
A Christian-centered method is used that will provide a plan of action designed to fit individual and particular needs. Because there are so many variables such as age, understanding, temperament, spiritual level, and past or present life issues, no set formula will be applicable to every situation or relationship. That is the primary reason there may be a variety of techniques and skills utilized in the counseling session.
Sometimes an individual just needs a sounding board to help them hear their own thoughts. This may even help the client and the counselor learn how to recognize negative thought patterns and their consequences. In that situation, we will discuss how to “exchange” those harmful thoughts for more constructive ideas so life will become more satisfying, peaceful and successful. Learning who we are in Jesus Christ and who He declares us to be is an important aspect in the “exchange” process.
Another person may be challenged in the counseling session to do self-examination to help determine motives and ideas behind their behavior. Individuals who struggle with their emotions and behavior are capable of improving their lives when they are encouraged in their faith and taught the skills to solve their problems.
Likewise, families caught in a dynamic of conflict can learn to improve their interpersonal communication as new skills are learned to help manage emotions and resolve conflicts. Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
The Arno Profile System (APS), used in conjunction with Christian-centered therapy, is a powerful tool that measures and identifies the individual’s temperament in three different areas; Inclusion, Control, and Affection. Inclusion is a person’s social orientation and intellectual energies. Control is a persons willingness or unwillingness to make decisions for self and others. It determines whether an individual is independent (a leader) or dependent (a follower). Affection measures a persons interaction in deep relationships.
Drs. Richard and Phyllis Arno developed this therapeutic procedure over a seven-year study through a systematic research with over 5000 individuals. Their objectives were to base it on Scripture; to save clients and counselors precious time; and to produce effective, positive, and more immediate results with those being counseled.
This temperament profile has been proven highly successful in clinical studies. The counselor gains insight into the behavior tendencies of the client and then uses this evaluation to help each person understand their inborn temperament. This assessment clearly measures the strengths and weaknesses within a person’s temperament and therefore has been a proven tool to help people with personal growth issues and for improving group relationship dynamics. In using this profile, consideration is given to learned behavior, personality, family of origin, and birth order, as well as the individual’s relationship with God.
When temperament is combined with perceptions learned through family of origin, a person may develop patterns of behavior, styles of communication and forms of humor based on what was customary in their family. These customs may become an expected code of behavior by its members. These expectations can be surprising and even objectionable to others that have come to expect another set of rules. People from different families have typically learned different structural principles, values, and beliefs, even if both have been reared in a Christian home. When these family structures and personal inborn temperaments are blended together, it can seem as if the other person has come from a different culture.
The APS is an eye opening, in-depth assessment that helps individuals grow in their understanding and appreciation of themselves and each other. Each individual will be given a personal report to take home that is full of insight into their temperament.
Here is what one of Laura’s colleagues has to say about the Arno Profile System:
“In my 31 years as a counselor, I have administered and interpreted many personality and behavioral assessments for couples and individuals. Not until I began utilizing the Arno Profile System in 2003, have I seen clients respond so readily and feel so understood. Quickly getting to the core of who they are as created by God not only gives a person an immediate treatment plan — whether their problem be relational, career related, or emotional — it can save them many sessions! I have been amazed at the numbers of entire families with children as young as age seven who have benefited from temperament therapy in my practice.”
Anne Alexander Stauffer