What is counseling like?

Prospective clients are initially interviewed on the telephone. In this short (25-30 minutes) “intake interview,” a counselor gathers information from the client about reasons for seeking counseling, and composition of the household. At that time, the prospective client is informed of whether or not there is a wait list, and when he/she might expect to be contacted for the initial counseling session to be scheduled.

New Horizons not only serves families and schools in the area, but, as a training facility, it provides masters and doctoral graduate students with practical counseling experience. All of the graduate students receive supervision from faculty members who are licensed practitioners. As part of our function as a training facility, we videotape all counseling sessions. The tapes are reviewed by the counselors, faculty supervisors, and other students. Tapes remain confidential and are not viewed outside of professional, training contexts. Tapes are deleted after the counselor has met with their supervisor.

Counseling sessions are conducted at various locations in the Hampton Roads area, making travel to sessions as convenient as possible for clients. Sessions generally include all members of a household/family, as it is our belief at New Horizons that the presenting problems of a family member are issues for the entire family, and that change is most effectively promoted when all family members are involved in the counseling process. New Horizon’s “systems approach” is an active type of therapy that may engage the family in artwork, play, and games. Each session, however, is adapted to a particular family’s configuration, needs, and natural ways of interacting.

Families are usually seen once per week, and each session lasts 50 minutes.