Counseling is a relationship process of healing. You are not paying for someone to listen to you in the same way a friend would. This is not a reciprocal relationship where you will be sharing each other’s stories. There are several things you can expect from a counselor. Together, you will develop long and short-term goals. The counselor will facilitate the next step of your growth. The focus is on your needs. You learn to leverage your strengths to become your best.
If you come in with an expectation for good advice, you may be disappointed. Advice giving is usually measured and not the main focus. When you come in hoping to fix the circumstances or convince someone you are considering as a life-long partner, be prepared to have the focus returned on your needs. There are times when you may feel that things are getting worse than before you began the process. Be prepared for growing pains, very similar to what you experienced transitioning into a new developmental stage or a new career.
Be encouraged, that after the initial stage of exploration, you will deepen your understanding of yourself in a relationship meant to strengthen you. Growth takes time. The end goal of consolidating and closing your relationship with a counselor does not mean you will never revisit the therapeutic process. You may leave your relationship open-ended and come as needed in the future to pursue new goals or perhaps go deeper in exploring a previous theme.