Counsellor Connecting with Clients in Growing Practice
Date: June 27 2015
by Josh Jennings
Counsellor Lauren Sokolski says she remembers spending three years counselling one client for the depression, anxiety and panic attacks the client had developed after a traumatic experience. Her role essentially involved providing the client with a safe place to explore emotions, and she drew on a mixture of therapeutic techniques that enabled the client to become much happier over the course of the therapeutic relationship.
“A lot of it is about respecting where the person is at when they come in,” says Sokolski.
“If they are not interested in trying something, then we don’t try it – we do something else. I don’t have a box people have to fit into.”
Sokolski, an accredited social worker with a private practice, counsels clients seeking support for problematic relationships, grief and loss, life transitions and depression and anxiety. She says the overall aim of her job is to assist her clients to live more authentic and fulfilling lives. She divides her time between counselling sessions (usually five to seven a day), paper work, client liaison and professional development.
She says counselling provides a good opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life.
“I’m always very curious about other people’s lives and there’s a satisfaction when I am able to make a difference,” Sokolski says.
Before establishing her counselling business in 2009, Sokolski was employed as a social worker at Centacare Catholic Family Services for 17 years, supervising other counsellors, managing a counselling program and providing counselling to individuals, couples and families.
Making the transition into private practice takes work, she says.
“I had to create a website, online presence and quarterly newsletter. So there’s a big difference between where I am at now and where I was when I started.
“I have also started getting referrals from previous clients – word of mouth – which takes a long time to build up.”
Sokolski has a social work degree from the University of Melbourne. She is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers and an accredited mental health social worker through the association. She has been engaged in ongoing counselling training and professional development throughout her career.
This year, she has enrolled in further professional development and plans to attend several workshops to advance her incorporation of other therapies into her practice.
“I am always excited about continuing to develop my skills and my understanding of the many approaches available in my field, and being able to use these with clients.”