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What to expect from your first counselling session

Reaching out and taking the step to come to see a counsellor for the first time can be a very daunting experience.

You may have so many questions you’d like to get answered. You may feel overwhelmed with all of the jargon you have read on numerous counsellors biographies, you’ve been trawling the internet for what seems like an eternity to find the right fit for you. Whether it's from their photo, to the location, their fees, to their modality....when all you really want to know is…..”can this person help me with what I’ve got going on?”

So once you’ve found the right fit for you and decided on a counsellor who meets your selection criteria……of course you’re going to want to know what to expect…..especially in the first session.

So, here’s a glimpse of what to expect when you come to see me.

Firstly, when you make contact with me and we arrange a time and date for your appointment I will follow this up with sending you the location of where I practice and highlight some of the logistics of getting in, from parking, to the code you’ll need to enter the gate. Hopefully this will ease any unwanted stress on the day and allow you to free up some headspace for what is really going on for you right now, I.e. what has brought you to counselling.

Once you arrive I’ll begin by introducing myself and ensuring you have a drink if you want one. I’ll explain a bit about how this first session might look (a little like this blog is doing).

We’ll begin by discussing the counselling agreement (sometimes called a contract). This gives me a chance to explain how I work, highlight how sessions are confidential and are for you to explore, in your own time something that is on your mind or may have been troubling you. I will also draw your attention to when I may need to break confidentiality and why this would be the case. The counselling agreement then covers everything from time and day we agree to meet each week, duration of counselling, cancellation policy and costs for the service. I will also go through my privacy policy with you and provide you with details of how I store your data in line with GDPR guidelines.

Then, once we have some of the formalities done and dusted, the session is yours to tell me a bit about what has brought you to counselling.

Unlike any future sessions I have certain questions I will ask you to prompt you and to find out a bit more about what has brought you to see me and will sit and write down in as much detail as possible to help me gain a clear picture of you. This may feel slightly odd, but rest assured I will not be sat with pen and paper during any other session.

So as this first session is taking place, this is an ideal opportunity to get to know each other a bit better and find out if we can work together. You may want to get a feel for me before you commit to further sessions and equally I will get a sense of you. Hopefully during this time we will create a picture of how you wish to use counselling to best meet your needs and this may form the basis of our work together, which creates the goals for therapy.

I invite you to ask me questions during this time so anything that does not yet seem clear soon becomes it and we are both working together, from the same starting point, with a clear idea of how you'd like to progress going forwards.

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