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First Counselling Session - What to Expect

So, you’ve chosen your therapist and made that first appointment. Good for you, because taking that first step is a brave move that can feel quite daunting. Now as your first session draws nearer you’ll be wondering what to expect – and what might be expected of you. Here are some hints and tips to help guide you through:

Top of the list here is the opportunity for you to make sure you feel comfortable with your counsellor. Do you feel you can talk to them easily, that they understand you and importantly that you can build trust with them. Often that first session will be offered as a free of charge taster session so you can make this assessment without any financial cost.

Your counsellor will want to know a bit about your story; what has brought you to counselling, why now and what you want to achieve – it’s useful to think about this in terms of any changes you want to make in the way you feel about yourself, your relationships or your circumstances. If you’re not sure about your goals, your counsellor should help by talking this through with you.

First sessions are also a chance for you to ask questions, about how your counsellor works, about their training and experience and how that relates to their work with you. And, what they expect from you both during sessions and inbetween sessions in terms of any homework or reflection.

There may be some paperwork to fill out. Generally there will be a contract to sign which outlines things like appointment dates and times, confidentiality, cancellations, time boundaries and complaints. You can read and sign this whilst you are there or ask to take it home and bring it back when you meet next. The contract does not hold you to continue counselling and you are free to stop at any time. In addition your counsellor may ask for contact details for yourself and for your GP and next of kin and will explain how their confidentiality policy relates to these.

Do remember that every counsellor has had extensive counselling themselves so they know exactly what it is like to embark on the therapeutic journey – how nervous it can make you and how exciting it can be. They will be looking forward to meeting you and being alongside you in a supportive and enlightening way.

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