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What Does A Session With Eliana Look Like?

I try to hold a comfortable environment. I don’t want my clients to come in and automatically think of “intimidation”. I want the people I work with to feel relaxed in the space, and I make sure they know that I will not pressure them to speak of things they are not ready to talk about yet. 


I look at body language. If I notice a client showing behavior that shows they are not comfortable yet, I try to think of things to help bring excitement. I focus on the things they enjoy. 


When clients start a session with me for the first time- I introduce confidentiality and trust. And since I want to make sure they feel comfortable, I want to let them know they can bring whatever they want to sessions to help with that. That being said, we don’t always use what’s brought- but it helps create a connection when they are able to show it all to me. Or if they bring a fidget or stuffed animal, it’s something they already know brings them a sense of comfort. 


It’s important to realize that everyone is different. That especially means that we all learn differently. I’m a visual learner so I also bring in lots of visuals into sessions. There is no harm with charts, diagrams, and posters :). Knowing that everyone learns differently and enjoys different things, I use a lot of different tools and strategies. 


Depending on the type of session I can be having with a client, I may have different therapist teaching styles. For example, I’m able to recognize when I need to have a more serious attitude other than a funny attitude. I want clients to have fun, but let them know that sometimes they will be leaving in a good mood, and other times they might not be. 


Worksheets

Worksheets help put ideas and strategies into one’s vision. Worksheets are also able to include great questions. I have a whole drive with a ton of go-to worksheet activities. 


Topics of worksheets used include:

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety

  • Boundaries

  • Anger

  • Feelings identification

  • Coping strategies

  • Grief

  • Self-confidence 

  • Social thinking

  • Growth mindset

  • Self-esteem

  • And many many more topics


Books

Similar to worksheets, books bring it all to life in a story. I worked in a school and watched how books work in a learning environment. Kids appear interested in the stories, as well as the illustrations. When reading a book, I always pause throughout the storyline to one- make sure my client is listening, two- to ask if my client understands, three- to ask for opinions on the story, and four- to hear what they have learned and what they think are good ideas. To help my clients pay attention, if they get distracted easily, I always ask if they want to fidget or color while listening. 


Art

Art is amazing. I encourage my clients to express themselves with art. I also use art for clients that appear to not be able to concentrate with just talking. Just like I mentioned above, I let my clients color while they also take part in the conversation. Clients and I have created our own stories off of lessons we have gone over. It’s awesome seeing clients that have one idea and turn it into something amazing. 


Games

I have always enjoyed games. I was the kid in the family that wanted to play some type of game at almost every family event. So why not bring that into sessions when the opportunity arises? Even though playing games is a plus in sessions, I remind clients that we’re not working together to just play games. 


Talking

Talking? Whatttt… I never talk in sessions… Talking is obviously important in sessions!! No matter what activity we’re doing, talking will always be involved in some way. We can even have regular ol’ talk-therapy sitting on the floor. 


Acting it Out 

Improv! Surprisingly, this can help so much. It helps me see the whole picture, but it also shows “real-life” examples for me to pause my client in action. 


Fidgets

I would say having fidgets in the office is basically a common practice. I have watched sooo many kids be created with the fidgets in my office. They don’t just use them to fidget, but we might create stories with them, organize them into different categories, create games with them and so much more. 


Things to know in general about sessions with me

Some of what I’ll say here will be similar to how I started this blog- but it’s also because it’s important. I want anyone who comes into my office to be comfortable and to feel safe. Therapy involves vulnerability. I want to ensure that my clients know that I will never judge them or be mad at them. I want them to think of the room we’re in to be a safe-zone.




Written by,


Eliana Cohn, LSW



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