WHY COME TO COUNSELLING / PSYCHOTHERAPY?
People come to therapy for a wide variety of reasons. You may know exactly what you need help with, or you may just recognise that life is really tough and you are unhappy and struggling but cannot understand why. You may even feel that whilst you are unhappy that what you are experiencing is ‘not bad enough to warrant asking for help’. Whichever group you fall into, if you have a problem, situation or experience that is impacting your daily life; it may be something that happened years ago or recently, then making a decision to work alongside a professional like myself, to find a way forward is a positive thing to do.
If you have had a previous ‘good’ experience of counselling / psychotherapy, then we will explore what you found beneficial and see if we can utilise that and expand on it in our work together. Conversely, if you have had, what you may describe as a ‘poor’ experience, then I will discuss that with you so that I can try and understand how I can better support you.
I know it is daunting to ask for help. If you are struggling, I would encourage you to reach out to myself or another member of my profession and ‘give it a try’. I will endeavour to support you in our work together and to help you find the space you need to explore and understand what is going on in your life. My concern for you is, that in not reaching out to try and change things, that you may not live life as you would like to, or that your situation may deteriorate and life may become harder for you.
So…… what happens in the first session?
It is understandable that you may be nervous coming into your first session with me and wonder whether you are doing the right thing. Perhaps it would be helpful if I explain what to expect during our first meeting.
- I will ask whether you have had therapy before and whether it was helpful or not.
- I will ensure that you are understand the confidentiality agreement that will be in place, as per BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) guidelines, throughout our work together
- You will have an opportunity to ask me any questions you may have about therapy and to express any concerns you may have
- You will be encouraged to explain what has brought you in to therapy. General details are often sufficient in this first session. Where appropriate, I may encourage you to elaborate on certain aspects to clarify my understanding.
- I will ask you if you have ever thought of harming yourself or ending your life. This is part of the contract of confidentiality which will be explained to you. I am not here to judge you about actions or concerns you have had either in the past or are currently experiencing. Therapy is where you can be open about such thoughts secure in the knowledge that you will be heard and understood.
- I will ask you what you would like to get from therapy.
- I may ask you to complete some ‘questionnaires’ which will help us both to understand more about what you are experiencing.
- I will ask you whether you would like to book another appointment, take time to think about it or maybe you already know this is not what you are looking for. There will not be any pressure to book another appointment.
- If appropriate, I may suggest that you undertake some work between sessions in order to maintain the direction of the work we are doing together and to build on your own understanding of yourself.
- I will ask you to complete a brief form to ensure I have accurate contact details.
THE TYPE OF THERAPY USED
Although trained in several kinds of therapy e.g. Person-Centred, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Solution Focused Therapy, TA (Transactional Analysis) and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) and Therapeutic Hypnotherapy; I would describe my approach as integrative. This is because I will draw on all my skills and adapt how I work to meet your specific needs.
THE NUMBER OF SESSIONS REQUIRED
It is difficult to state without having an assessment session with someone, how many sessions they will require. It is sometimes possible to give people an idea of how many sessions to expect, but for each person, their progress will be unique to them. Do they have internal / external resources they can call on? How severe are their symptoms? How long have they been struggling? Etc.
I am familiar with working with clients using both brief and long term therapy models. For those of you who are sponsored by; your employer, insurance organisation, EAP provider, there may be a maximum number of sessions we can have together. If this is the case then we will establish together what the main focus of your therapy will be and how we can best utilise our time together. For private clients, there may be constraints on your budget and /or time so again we may need to be focused in the work that we do together.
As we work together, we will review our work together regularly to ensure that we can assess how the work together is going.