In the first counselling session, my main goal is to create a comfortable and supportive environment for you. Here’s what typically happens:
- Introduction: I warmly welcome you and introduce myself, sharing information about my background, qualifications, and the counselling process. This helps us establish trust and build a connection.
- Informed Consent: I explain the purpose, goals, and limitations of counselling, ensuring you understand your rights and confidentiality. We discuss any exceptions to confidentiality, such as situations where there might be a risk of harm.
- Assessment: I ask open-ended questions to gather information about your background, personal history, and current concerns. We explore why you sought counselling and discuss any relevant symptoms, emotions, behaviours, and life circumstances. This helps me understand your unique situation and develop a tailored treatment plan.
- Goal Setting: We collaborate to identify your goals and aspirations for counselling. We discuss the changes you hope to make and the areas you’d like to work on. This step helps us establish a shared understanding of what you want to achieve through counselling.
- Building Rapport: I strive to create a safe and empathetic space where you can freely share your thoughts and emotions. Through active listening, validation, and empathy, I aim to build a supportive therapeutic relationship, ensuring you feel comfortable and understood.
- Psychoeducation: I provide information about mental health, specific issues or disorders, and evidence-based treatment approaches. I explain concepts and strategies that can be helpful in addressing your concerns. This educational component aims to provide you with insights, normalize your experiences, and equip you with coping skills.
- Addressing Questions and Concerns: I encourage you to ask questions, express any concerns, or seek clarification about the counselling process. We can discuss practical aspects like appointment scheduling, session duration, fees, and any administrative matters you may have.
- Closing: Towards the end of the session, I summarize the key points we’ve discussed, emphasizing your goals and any initial insights. We explore your expectations for future sessions and determine the frequency and duration of counselling that will best suit your needs. Together, we establish a plan for our ongoing therapeutic work.
Remember, this description may vary depending on my theoretical orientation, your specific needs, and the type of counselling we’re engaging in (individual, couples, family, etc.).