First off well done for getting this far – however long you have been thinking about it. Making the decision to find out what happens in the first counselling session can be the first step into helping you with whatever is causing you distress.
If you have never been into counselling before I have written this blog into what happens to give you some insight of what to expect (well in my sessions anyway!) – first though lets do a bit of myth busting –
Counsellors have been into counselling and we probably felt the same way before the first session as you do – apprehensive, anxious, emotional and a little bit cautious. We are not mind readers (we do have plenty of other skills though) – and we don’t know what is happening in your mind unless you tell us about it.
Sharing your worries – There isn’t a lot we have not heard before – so please don’t be worried that you will shock us, and yes everything you do tell us in the ‘room’ stays ins the room (unless you are a drug baron or intend to murder someone – then we may have to have a chat with our supervisor and/or appropriate authorities).
What if I cry ? When you are in the sessions it is OK if you cry – I won’t think you have lost the plot. Crying is good if it helps you – although it not expected so don’t worry about your emotions in the session.
How long will it take? As counsellors we have no idea how long you may be in counselling for and it is something we will discuss as we progress (please expect at least six sessions though). I do not have a magic wand to ‘mend’ the soul, mind or heart – I wish I did sometimes, but we will work together to get you where you want or need to be.
Phone chat – Before the session we will have a chat on the phone about what you are looking for in counselling. I will then send you an email containing a contract and a form of personal details for you to fill in (address, Dr details, next of kin etc.). Then we will make an appointment for when is convenient and set up the payment details which is paid before the beginning of each session.
A private space – At this time we will also make sure you have a private space in which to have your online session where you know you cannot be overheard. Please don’t worry about this too much as one of the perks of online sessions is they are so flexible and convenient – you can use an office space or anywhere in the house if it empty. I have clients who have sessions from their car, their work space and even out walking the dog!
Getting online –To enable the sessions online we download the Zoom app onto your computer, pad or phone. This is simple to do and even a technical dinosaur like me can do it! So with all this in place it may be time to think about your goals – make a few notes to bring to the first session and if you want we can talk about them?
D Day the first session
Well we have done the ground work and you are ready to go, Please don’t forget it is OK whatever your emotions may be – you are going to cope well and you are stronger than you think.
Starting – So when we connect online we will have quick pleasantries chat and then it will be onto the session – giving you the space to share what is bothering you and maybe what you would like to achieve from counselling (gives a bit of focus). I will be listening to what you say and how you say it, and I may ask a few questions myself to make sure I am understanding where you are ‘coming from’. I may not though.
Ending the session – As the sessions is drawing to an end I will let you know so you are aware and there is no abrupt finish. We will then discus how you felt the session went and how you feel about booking further sessions. I would like to point out at this point that if you don’t want to continue that is OK. Maybe you feel you would prefer another counsellor or you don’t feel quite ready. If you do want to continue we will book another session – this is usually at the same day and time each week. Well done you have had your first session !
After the session
You may experience various emotions – so please be kind to you self. If you are able to, spend a little time on your own – even if it’s just sat in the car or a short walk. You may feel tired as it can be draining.
Keeping notes – Going forward it may help you if you keep a journal or even make some notes on your phone through the week about how you are feeling or things that emerge from the session. Again this is not compulsory but it does help sometimes.
Next step – So now you have been ‘walked’ through what I feel is a representation of what your first counselling session could be like. I hope it has helped you. If you would like to know more about coming into counselling please feel free to contact me on my website ‘Mindsmatterto.me’ Thanks for reading my first blog 🙂