• The Counseling Initiative

What's in your therapist's office?

Generally when someone seeks out counseling services, it's usually due to some form of uncomfortableness in certain aspects or areas of their lives. Perhaps the marriage is struggling...or the teenage son/daughter is getting "off the right path" or even just feeling a bit "lost" in life. Regardless of the reason someone seeks out counseling, the process as a whole should be not only be an individualized expereince - but also completely customized to promote the highest possible level of progress and wellness.

So...what exactly is the difference between "individualized" and "customized"? Is it even relevant to the counseling process? The simple answer is YES.

With addiction and all its dirty secrets being at the fore front of everyone's minds, holistic approaches have become a primary talking point amongst counselors. At TCI - we have a firm belief in all things holistic - as well as not only encouraging them - but actually providing them to our clients during their sessions.

But how does that exactly work? is it practical? Well, honestly, that depends - but it's important to remember that counseling can and should be a hell of a lot more than just plopping down on a couch for an hour (not that theres anything wrong with that - but it doesn't mean it's for everyone). I am the perfect example of this. I suffer from high anxiety which is generally best managed by physical release. Untreated or mismanaged, and you're basically asking for me to have a panic attack. Now, imagine that someone whom has high anxiety is meeting someone (counselor) for the very first time - in a small room - all alone - and expected to tell them all their dark little secrets.....yah...doesn't sound like an easy thing right? So, when we encounter clients like this at TCI, we try to customize their treatment. By customize, I mean that maybe instead of being in an office setting we meet you at the local hiking trails, or even sit outside by our fire pit. The client is calmer and the counselor is ultimately accomplishing more simply because the client is relaxed.

But, we understand that not every counseling office has as much freedom as ours (perks of owning your own practice). Most therapists work for organizations and those come with their own set of rules that must be followed - thus, they can't just decide to meet your 16yr son at the basketball court because he is more open and honest there. BUT-- this doesn't mean that there isn't other ways to customize treatment settings even in office spaces.

Bring in: Scented Oils

Aromatherapy is something my genius other half has been involved with since before I can remember, and while I've never been against it, i didn't quite see what all the hoopla was about.....until i started doing it. The especially great thing about something like aromatherapy, is that it gives you the ability to work with over 50 different scents which can elicit a wide variety of responses in individuals. For example: Lavender may be the preferred scent for a highly anxious client or Eucalyptus for its anti-inflammatory qualities for chronic pain sufferers or maybe even Rosemary for younger teens because it stimulates mental activity.

Regardless of the scent determined - the overall effect is one that is truly CUSTOMIZED to the individual. In a nutshell: individualized treatment focuses more on the therapist's determination of the best processes - where as customized care means you are a major portion of determining the ultimate route. You have ample say in things like where, how and minor details of your treatment - rather than the therapist simply providing an office space and you having limited say.

i don't know about you...but i kind of like having some say in my environment - even if it is as little as the smells and lighting. The entire goal of counseling is to be comfortable and find wellness and the environment can play as a massive role in that. Remember to consider this when looking for a counselor or even asking what your current counselor has to offer.