This is an opportunity for you to share what has brought you to counselling. You may give as little or as much detail as you feel appropriate at this time.
We may also talk about what you might like to get from counselling.
I will discuss confidentiality with you to ensure that you understand and feel comfortable with my policies.
I will explain the service I can offer you and answer any questions you may have about how we would work together.
You don’t need to decide then and there whether you wish to continue.
Indeed, you may decide that I am not the right counsellor for you or that you do not wish to proceed at this time. I know from my own personal counselling that the right ‘fit’ of client and counsellor is very important.
If you decide to continue, subsequent sessions of 50 minutes will usually proceed on a weekly or fortnightly basis, but you are always free to decide not to proceed further. The number of sessions you have is your decision. There is no minimum commitment - we take it week by week.
There is no standard answer to this question. Some people feel just a few sessions is sufficient - being able to think aloud, speak freely without fear of judgment and safely share difficult emotions may feel, in a very short space of time, like removing a heavy weight from your shoulders. Others, however, choose to be supported for a much longer time period.
It’s fair to say that counselling can feel awkward at first, but it usually gets easier as the session progresses or after a couple of sessions. Clients often say that it’s less ‘formal’ than they expected. Some people find it a huge relief to finally talk about their troubles and explore thoughts and feelings usually bottled up, without fearing that they will be judged or patronised or told what they should be doing.
Counselling can be emotionally challenging. Sharing your experiences can unearth other painful experiences that you may never have spoken about before, such as a past experience that you didn’t think about at the time in order to cope. Working through these experiences can be difficult. However, should you choose to do so, I will support you in our sessions together so that you may feel safe in exploring your thoughts and feelings without being overwhelmed by them. We will also discuss how you might look after yourself in between sessions.
Rather than being advised or told what to do, the work we do will be about understanding what is and isn’t working for you and what is and isn’t important to you, so that you can decide what changes are right for you.
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