The overall goal of counseling and psychotherapy is to decrease troubling symptoms, to cultivate skills that will help you manage your emotions and relationships more effectively, and to increase self-awareness and positive self-regard. The first appointment is a semi-structured initial consultation for the purpose of assessing your presenting concerns, making a diagnosis of your symptoms and working collaboratively to develop a treatment plan. The assessment and treatment planning process will continue for about 2-4 sessions and will often include a more in-depth exploration of your concerns, as well as your own self-monitoring of symptoms, feelings and thoughts. Once target symptoms, their causes, and appropriate interventions are identified, we can begin working toward treatment goals in a semi-structured way.
Initial therapy goals are often focused on symptom management, which includes learning a variety of techniques specifically targeted to you that can help you respond to and decrease troubling symptoms. Another initial goal of therapy is to increase your self-awareness, including awareness of what’s triggering your symptoms and why, as well as awareness of relationship and behavior patterns that affect your life. And thus begins the art of therapy -- where your weekly concerns meet our identified treatment goals, with you gaining "in the moment" skills and psychological knowledge to address the challenges in your life. Each therapy session will end with you leaving with new insights, as well as a usable skill you can try right away to reduce your symptoms.
During the therapy process, underlying issues are often identified and can be targeted to help you supplement the “first order change” from symptom management techniques with “second order change" that is more deep and long lasting. This allows the individual to address BOTH current symptoms and the underlying processes that are driving them, creating personal growth that is the "gift that keeps on giving." This more depth oriented work may involve doing trauma therapy, exploring family dynamics from your childhood or changing interpersonal relationship patterns.
You always have the option to select, refuse or emphasize any aspects of treatment based on your own interests and preferences. Dr. Ferguson encourages open dialogue and active client participation in the formation of treatment goals. Furthermore, no matter what types of issues are identified throughout the process, you have the right to choose what you spend your time and energy on at any given moment, are encouraged to "come and go" from therapy as you please, and are invited to return and pick up on your therapy work at any time.
Dr. Ferguson's Private Practice Office Ph: (910) 444-1837 5004 Oleander Drive Fax: (888) 206-0215 Wilmington, NC 28403 email@example.com