What to Expect in Your First Counselling Appointment
Whatever your reason for seeking counselling, you will be more at ease and get better results if you know what to expect in your first session.
Your first session will normally last 50-60mins. I will ask a range of questions about you and your life. Your answers will help me make an initial assessment of your situation. Questions I might ask include:
Why you sought therapy at this time?
A particular issue probably led you to seek counselling. So, I need to understand your immediate problem(s) before I can begin to get to deeper issues.
Your personal history and current situation.
I may ask you a series of questions about your life.
For example, because family situations play an important role in who you are, I may explore your family history and your current relationship situation.
Your current symptoms.
As well as understanding the immediate reason you sought therapy and any symptoms this may have caused, I may l attempt to discover if you are experiencing other symptoms.. For example, your problem might be causing you difficulty at work or affecting your sleep. I will use this information to help me understand your problem and guide how I might work with you.
You are an active partner.
Therapy is a team effort. Taking a full part in your session will help you get the most from it. Here are some things you can do to help make your first session work well:
Be open. Therapists are trained to ask the right questions, but we are not mind readers! It will help me help you if you can answer my questions openly and honestly.
Be prepared. Before the session try to give some thought to “what’s wrong.” And it is helpful if you are able to describe the feelings you have about your problem. I know that time is often in short supply and don’t worry if you are not able to do this. But many people find it helpful to write down the reasons they are seeking help. See if you can make a list and then read it out loud. Hearing yourself say it a few times may help you describe things more clearly to me.
Ask questions. The more you understand counselling ,the more comfortable you will be. Please feel free to ask questions about the counselling process and please ask me to repeat anything you don’t understand.
Be open and honest about your feelings. A lot will be going on for you in your first session. Try to be aware of your feelings, and try to share them with me. That’s what I am here for! We will both learn from these insights. I know this can sometimes be difficult, but don’t let that put you off. We can work on it together.
Be realistic. Come to your first session with realistic expectations. Counselling is not a quick fix. It is a process. With some effort on your part and a strong relationship with your therapist, it can be a powerful tool that contributes to resolving your problems.