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what to expect during your first appointment

Before your first session you may feel afraid and anxious. You might not know what to expect. 

Perhaps you’re worried that your counsellor will ask you too many questions. Maybe you have concerns about how you will react. For example, what if you cry? What if you feel sad? What if you get angry or upset? These are all normal fears and they are completely understandable! 


Holistic and heart-centred, my philosophy is that each person contains the wisdom and knowledge they need for their health, wellbeing and healing. My role as a counsellor is to act as a guide along your journey.  My intention is to help you discover your own innate wisdom and inner truth and find your own answers.


What will your first session involve?


Here are four elements you can expect: 


Introduction:

 

You will spend the first part of your session developing a rapport with your counsellor. Generally, this occurs by engaging in small talk. You may discuss light and easy topics such as whether you managed to find the office without difficulty,  the weather, a current event, or what you did earlier in the day.

During this time, your counsellor may encourage you to ask them questions as well. Rather than jumping in and discussing the challenges you face right away, you can ask your counsellor about their hobbies and interests, their background or even why they decided to become a counsellor.


Counselling Agreement:


Now that you and your counsellor have started to build a rapport, the two of you can take a moment to review the counselling agreement. This agreement ensures a professional relationship by highlighting the counsellor’s responsibilities towards the client, and vice versa. 


A typical counselling agreement will include sections such as:


· Rights & Responsibilities (counsellor & client)

· Confidentiality

· Record Keeping

· Sessions (e.g. length, frequency and location of sessions)

· Payments & Fees

· Cancellation Policy 

· Complaints Procedure


If you have questions about the counselling agreement or the counselling process in general, now is the time to ask them. Your counsellor will make sure everything is clear, and that you have all the tools and answers you need for a reassuring experience together.


Establishing Needs:


Your counsellor will want to know why you are seeking therapy. They will generally ask you a series of questions about the challenges you face and what you hope to achieve.


This part of the session will include questions like: 


· Have you attended counselling before?

· Why are you seeking counselling today?

· What symptoms are you currently experiencing?

· How is your current situation impacting your life?

· What do you hope to achieve from counselling?

· Are there any specific barriers preventing you from reaching your goals?


The objective here is to ensure you and the counsellor share a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish. While there are some things your counsellor will need to know, disclosure is at the clients own pace.


Overview & Action Plan:


Together, you will discuss your objectives and create an action plan that will help you to address the barriers within your life and reach your desired outcomes. 


To ensure you get off to a good start, the counsellor may also suggest some “homework” at the end of the session. Don’t panic: homework is meant to be very helpful, and it won’t take up too much of your time. Your homework might involve reflecting on certain behavioural patterns in between sessions, or perhaps engaging in grounding, breathing or mindfulness techniques. Your homework will often incorporate the tools you learn during your appointments.


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