Do I Have to go Every Week?: The Truth about Counseling

Betty, a woman in her eighties, comes in for “tune up” sessions a few times a year. She brings in a handwritten list with her top five agenda items. She was clear with me from the beginning. “I don’t want to dissect my childhood. I don’t want to waste time talking about how I f-e-e-l about anything. I don’t have time left. I want to get in, get out, and get on with my life.”

Four year old Sam comes to play with me every week. He’s been coming for over a year. When Sam was two years old his mother came home to his crumpled body on the floor and her boyfriend standing over him with a cast-iron skillet. Sam survived, but has night terrors, wets the bed, and developmental delays. When I asked Sam what he thinks of seeing me every week he said, “Miss Amy, love here. Lots toys, and sometimes dog! Play now?”

Millie and Walt got married a few months ago. Both of them come from divorced homes and part of their commitment to each other is a commitment to creating a strong, lasting marriage. They come in once a month to learn new tools and techniques. “We don’t want to come when we have problems. We want to take care of each other before anything happens. We want to do this right.”

The Smith-Hammond Family just combined 2 adults, 6 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 2 fish, and 2 houses over the past few years. The adults began talking with me when they were dating to discuss the best way to facilitate blending their families. At each new step I worked with various combinations of family members to help the transitions go as smoothly as possible. Sometimes I was seeing their family weekly, and other times months would pass.

The counseling process is as diverse as the people who seek it. There are always general guidelines to help the process go smoothly, but to me it’s a team effort. I believe you are the expert on your self, your child, your family, your life and sometimes, like all of us, you might need some extra support.