Once you get in touch, I like to have a chat by phone about why you’ve decided to seek counselling, and then if we decide we want to proceed, we will agree a mutually convenient time to meet.
At our first session I will ask for more detail about your reasons for coming for counselling, and I may ask you some other questions, for example about your family history, which can often have a bearing on the current issue, or on how you are feeling. We will also go over administrative aspects of the counselling relationship. It is important that you think you will be able to feel comfortable in a relationship with me – and me with you – for us to be able to work together. It might be that our personalities don’t fit, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The relationship between client and therapist is different each time, but we will work together to figure out what is going on for you and to help you to become more aware of where habits of thinking, feeling or behaviour may not be working for you as well now as they have in the past. It is quite likely that, once you trust me, you may well repeat your default patterns of relating to people with me, and talking about this can help us both to better understand and explore your difficulties. I don’t normally give advice, but I may offer tips or ways for you to think about how you react in certain situations.
You can end the counselling relationship at any time, but it is usually helpful if we discuss the ending first – especially if we have been working together for some time.