Expectations Of A First Counselling Session
Each counsellor will hold their sessions in their own way, but an initial session should always cover; introductions, assessment and a contract.
Your counsellor should welcome you by introducing themselves and explaining how they work. You should be able to ask them about their qualifications and experience, as well as anything else you are unsure about.
There may be some basic questions that will be discussed at the beginning of your session. Some of these questions might be:
- Where do you want to sit?
- How would you like to be addressed?
- Do you live locally to your counsellor?
- How do you want to greet each other outside the counselling room?
You may be asked about your history, your family, home arrangements, prior counselling. They may also ask you to complete some forms for basic information (i.e. medications, GP). Some counsellors may ask you to complete a ‘Core’ form to look at where your emotions are now and compare where they are at a later date.
Some counsellors may simply ask “what has brought you to counselling”, which is your opportunity to ‘tell your story’. It is important that you have the opportunity to tell the counsellor what is, or has been, worrying you. It’s important that you feel comfortable with them.
At the initial session, the counsellor should also discuss their ‘contract’ with you. This is a form stating how they will provide their services to you. It is usually a printed document, which they will ask you to read, sign and date. You should have the option to discuss any queries with them or take this away with you to read through before signing. Some counsellors may forward this to you prior to the first session, allowing you to review it prior to signing.
This ‘contract’ will include items such as confidentiality, data protection, contact information, fees and cancellation policies.
Your first session should give you a clearer insight into how your counsellor will work with you. It is important to feel comfortable with them so that you can be open and honest enough to talk about how you really feel. If you do not feel able to do this, then you have the option to look for another therapist.