by Melanie Rathgeber, MA, MC, RCC
It may not seem natural to think about giving feedback to your counsellor, but we really do want to hear your reflections. It helps us think back on the session, evaluate your progress, and direct where to go next. Here are five types of feedback that can be very valuable for the effectiveness of your sessions.
- What you liked about your session. A great way to wrap up a session is to talk about what you found helpful in this session. What stuck out for you? What are your main take-aways? Are there things you talked about or discovered that you would like to pick up on next time? I try to make a point to ask my clients at the end of their sessions for their reflections, but if there is something that is coming up for you, please feel free to bring it up on your own.
- What you didn’t like about your session. I once had a client come in and tell me that she was really upset with one of the questions I had asked her the previous week. It was awesome feedback! It allowed us to start down a path of why it was upsetting, what it meant to her, and why that particular question provoked the response it did.
- What style of counselling has worked for you in the past. If you have had counselling before, and are starting with a new counsellor, it can be very helpful to talk about your previous counselling experiences. Is there a particular type of therapy you found helpful? Do you like when your counsellor is more directive? Less directive? Do you like to do tasks between sessions? We likely won’t completely change our style, but we can certainly incorporate your preferences.
- What is sticking with you. If there are certain ideas that stuck with you from the previous session, it is helpful to know that. If you spent a lot of time reflecting on a certain topic, that can be a good starting point for the next session. If you found that you used some techniques more than others, that is good for us to discuss. If you found that some techniques didn’t make sense to you, we can look at the instructions and maybe modify it to suit you better. I always like when my clients tell me that they are teaching their friends and family some specific techniques – that lets me know that it must be something that is working for them!
- How you are feeling about your progress. It is really important for you and your counsellor to be on the same page about your goals. If you feel like you are not making enough progress towards your goals, that can be a good signal that the style of counselling may need to change. Or sometimes, it is a good prompt for you and your counsellor to remember how much progress you actually have made, even if it doesn’t always feel like that every day. Or maybe what you want to get out of counselling has changed. Maybe you are now managing some things better, but want to focus on others. Those are always important discussions to have together, and if you feel your counsellor isn’t picking up on the change of direction you want to take, please bring it up.
All this feedback is valuable and counsellors welcome it. We are trained to reflect on our practice, and your thoughts are an important part of that. Your ideas will help you and your counsellor direct your sessions and will be helpful in making your counselling effective. Thanks for the feedback!
Melanie is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at Rocky Point Wellness Clinic and offers individual counselling sessions on Mondays and Fridays. To learn more about Melanie, Click here.