Your first counselling session can be daunting if you do not know what to expect. If you haven’t been to counselling before, or if this is your first time with me, you might want to know what happens. When you book your session on-line, you supply basic details of name, address, phone number and date of birth. I can then get records started, which saves time at the session.

Beginning Your First Session

At your initial session, the first thing I need to do is go over the limits of confidentiality, which means letting you know what is reportable and what confidentiality and privacy entails. This is a legal and ethical requirement that all counsellors and other therapists should go through with you at the start of sessions. It requires you to sign an agreement to show that you accept these conditions.

For face-to-face sessions, I hand you the agreement and you you sign in person. If attending by Phone or Zoom, I email you the agreement when I receive your booking. In these cases, you will need to sign the agreement and email it to my prior to your session. In all cases you can check out anything you’re not sure about. After confidentiality has been dealt with, I may get some brief background information so I have a context within which to better understand and help you.

Talking at Your First Session

I would then ask you to tell me why you have come. This usually means explaining a problem you are having and why it has brought you to counselling at this particular time. You can do this in your own way, in your own time. It may be that you want to unload and share your feelings. Or you may want to work through some difficulties in a practical way.

You may want help to manage feelings, such as grief, anxiety or depression. Or you may be looking for strategies, ideas, help making decisions, or any one of a number of things. For most clients, it is a combination of several things. I will ask further background questions as needed. We look at your strengths and supports, your vulnerabilities and any other information relevant to your situation.

Sometimes this takes up the whole session. In this case, further work will begin at the next session. But if there is sufficient time, we discuss what you would like to achieve from counselling.  What is the goal or outcome you are looking for? Depending on what that is, I may ask where you are now on a scale of 1-10, as opposed to where you want to be. We can then do a check in periodically to ensure that we stay on track and that your sessions achieve the outcome that you want.

For a copy of the information on this page, click here to download PDF: Your First Counselling Session 2022.

After Your First Counselling Session

Between your first and second session, I formulate a counselling plan based on what you have told me. This entails considering which therapeutic approach seems the most appropriate to your needs. At your next session, we discuss the plan, modify it if required, and reach an agreed approach to moving forward.

Further work usually includes a combination of therapy, psycho-education and homework. You might learn new skills, try new approaches, or think about things in a different way. Before you know it, life looks brighter and you feel better.

If you would like to know how to book a counselling session, check out Counselling Booking Information and Counselling Online Booking Calendar. I look forward to meeting and working with you.

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Between Stimulus and Response, man has the freedom to choose (Stephen Covey)