What to expect from counselling
If you’ve never been for counselling before, you may not know what to expect, and that can make the experience quite daunting. So let me walk you through the process from beginning to end, and let’s see if we can clear up any questions you might have….
Your first port of call will be to make initial contact with me by booking in for a free initial consultation to discuss your needs and what you’d like to achieve through counselling. Once we’ve agreed that I can help you get where you want to be, and that you’re comfortable working with me, then we’ll book in our first formal counselling session. I’ll provide you with a formal contract that makes sure we’re both on the same page.
Identifying your needs and planning your therapy
I usually spend the first 1-3 sessions identifying your needs and goals in greater depth, and working with you to sketch out a strategy for how we will go about making the changes you want in your life. Once we have a clear plan of action, then we get to work with the nitty-gritty of learning new skills, cultivating beneficial habits, and letting go of old habits that don’t serve you. Each session will usually focus on 1-3 main areas of need, and we agree upon these at the beginning of the session so we’re both clear on what we’re going to focus on.
Most clients attend between six and twelve counselling sessions, usually on a weekly or fortnightly basis, although some prefer to attend monthly. Some people find they don’t need more than two or three sessions to address their need, and that’s just fine. If you’re really specific about what you want, it’s possible we can tackle it quickly. But there are probably a lot more people who find longer term counselling more useful. Once they’ve dealt with what they initially came in for, they find the benefits of counselling apply to a lot of other issues and goals as well. For this reason, I see people who come in for a few sessions in a year, and then may well be back the following year for a few more sessions, and so on.
The counselling journey is precisely that – a journey. You can get on and off the bus at any point, gaining ground as you go, with a guide who knows how to navigate the terrain.
No pain, no gain: therapy is hard work!
While all this might sound very straightforward, the emotional aspect of counselling can be very challenging. Make no mistake about it, learning new skills involves come hard yards. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. That’s why working with a professional who is able to support you through the emotional turbulence that sometimes arises during the hard yards of therapy is crucial. We’re equipped to hold space for the hard stuff while you lean into it. And when it comes to the skills, we’re trained in how to help you learn at a pace that works for you, in a style that suits you.
Making your therapy work for you
Between sessions I like to touch base with my clients, either by email or phone, in order to see how you’re travelling. If you’re having any difficulties sticking with your plans, or if something’s come up for you between sessions, this is the ideal time to tackle it. Ideally we can get you on track or change course before our next session. That way we can really make the most of our time together. I also often recommend mobile apps for my clients to use between sessions to keep you on track with your work, as there’s nothing like electronic devices to hold you accountable these days!
Because therapy can be emotionally draining and practically quite challenging, I usually recommend to clients that you clear some space in your schedule. This enables you to process, unwind, decompress, and put some energy into self-care after our session. Therapy extends well beyond what we do in my consulting room to the time you spend working on your goals in your everyday life. You’ll need to be prepared to do some homework, and work hard on sticking with any changes you’re making.
So when you’re ready, get in touch, and we’ll take it from there!