Affirmative Heart Counseling | Therapy that's a work of heart

New Clients – What to Expect

Assessing Support Needs

As a solo-practitioner with limited capacity due to my own disabilities, I am unable to cater to clients who require extensive support such as those currently dealing with suicidal intent, eating disorders, personality disorders, or who are in crisis. I will do my best to get an accurate sense of my ability to help you properly during our initial phone consultation. However, if, after beginning our sessions, I come to feel that I cannot adequately support your needs, I promise to guide you towards someone who can provide the level of care you need.

Therapeutic Frequency

In my experience, therapeutic efficacy is most obvious when meeting weekly. However, success can also be seen when keeping to at least a bi-weekly meeting schedule. After we have been working together for a while and you have seen considerable progress, we can discuss reducing the frequency of sessions or possibly ending therapy with the option to resume in the future, if required and appropriate. I completely respect your autonomy in this process, and while I may provide professional recommendations in this matter, your choice and what you can financially commit to is ultimately the most important thing.

Cultural Compatibility

Born out of my own cultural background and personal experience (AuDHD), I have a direct approach to communication. Although I assure you my intent isn’t judgmental, it might seem that way to some. Although my empathetic warmth towards my clients may not always be apparent due to our individual differences, I believe in the therapeutic value of navigating through such discomforts and discrepancies in communication or style. I will always assume positive intent in you, and hope you will do the same for me.

My Therapeutic Beliefs

Healing, to me, is about cultivating acceptance, compassion, and appreciation for oneself. I believe in the profound transformative power of slow, methodical work, as opposed to quick fixes. While I will provide practical and solution-focused techniques for specific issues, a considerable part of our work will involve active listening and space-holding on my part, in order to help us both better understand your experience. I will provide insights, advice, challenges, affirmations, and ask clarifying questions, but will not always have “the answer” for you. Over time, my goal is to help you build trust in yourself so that you find your own answers.

Change is subtle, gradual, and may not always seem apparent. Much like grains of sand forming a mound, each small adjustment integrates into your daily life, ultimately accumulating into something significant. I encourage you to be patient with yourself and our work together. As they say: “trust the process”.

Initial Consultation

I generally start with a free 20-minute phone consultation where we can ask each other questions and assess our compatibility. If at any point I feel that your needs would be better met by another professional, I will do what I can to help you find referral options. If we both agree to move forward, I will send you my electronic intake paperwork and get you on the schedule for your first appointment.

Session Logistics

To ensure a relevant and productive therapy session each time, I recommend that between sessions and just before sessions, you take time to reflect on the week’s experiences and jot down key thoughts or interactions that you’d like to explore further.

Each session is 45 minutes, unless you have signed up for an EMDR intensive, which is 90 minutes.

I will email you the necessary details for our video session (via Google Meet) about 10 minutes prior to each session.

Please note, I require a 48-hour cancellation notice, without exception, but I provide one late-notice absence waiver per year. Failure to give sufficient notice will result in a full session charge unless rescheduled for the same week, given my availability.

Payment is due at the end of each session, and carrying a balance is not possible.

Don’t forget to check out Pricing and Payments and Why Michelle Doesn’t Take Insurance for more important information.

Email me to get started!