What happens in my first counselling session?


First of all I want to congratulate you for making this first step, and looking to see what counselling involves.

I know that it takes a lot of strength to realise that there is something happening in your life that you feel you need help to understand, and it takes a lot of courage to open up and speak to someone about it.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to seek counselling, and whether this is the first time you are thinking of seeing a counsellor or not, it makes things a little less daunting if you know what to expect from counselling.

I wrote this article so that you can get a general idea of what usually happens in a first session, and also to give you some answers to general questions you may have about how therapy works.

So what usually happens in a first session?

I want to make sure that you feel comfortable discussing your thoughts and feelings in our sessions together, and an important part of that is knowing that whatever you tell me will be confidential.  This first session, and any later sessions will be confidential, however there will be a few exceptions to that, so I will explain what these exceptions are near the start of our first session together.

After that we can take some time for you to tell me what your expectations and thoughts about counselling are, and what issues in your life have made you decide to come to counselling.

During that time I might ask you some questions about you, and the important people in your life.  For example, I may ask you to tell me a little about your family history and your current family situation.

During this first session together feel free to ask any questions you may have.  The more you understand how counselling works and how I work, hopefully the more comfortable you will feel.  You can ask me any questions about the therapy process, and don’t be worried about asking me to repeat or explain anything you don’t understand.

After 50 minutes the first session will have ended.

In that session we can talk about whether you want to have further sessions with me, and if you do we can then agree what day and at what time further sessions will be.  I can also explain what happens if you might be late to a session or if you are not able to make a session.

So what happens in later sessions?

In later sessions we can spend time talking about the issue that you originally came to counselling for, or talk about other issues that may have come up for you since our last session together.

Remember that our time together is for you.  I am there to help you understand your thoughts and your feelings and we will work together to make sense of what is going on for you, so that you can cope better and feel in more control of your life.

How long does counselling last?

Each of us is unique and each issue that someone may bring to counselling is also unique, so it is difficult to say how many sessions you may need, but through our time together we will regularly discuss your progress.  During this time always feel free to say if you think things are moving too fast or too slow.

One final thing….

If you have never had counselling before, the thought of having counselling can be nerve wracking.  Always remember that I am not there to judge you and I won’t be upset or angry about anything you may want to say.

If you feel you would like to make that first step please use to the contact details on this page to arrange your first session

Written by Derek Lovell of New Thinking Therapy

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