What should you expect when starting counselling?

What should you expect when starting counselling?
Emma Thompson/Opis Counselling

You might be wondering what you should expect when starting counselling, especially if you have never tried it before.

To begin, we would speak via phone or email about what you need help with and want from counselling.  (Please see my Privacy Policy for more information).  If you then are happy to do so, we will arrange an in-person appointment.  At this appointment I will go through my full Privacy Policy with you and ask you to sign a document to agree to my collecting and using your data as part of our work together.

After that, I will take background information to get an idea of what has happened previously in your life and what is happening now.  We will talk more about your hopes and goals for  counselling and agree a contract for a number of sessions.  Usually I offer 6 sessions to start with, but you can choose a different number or change it later – either to have more or fewer sessions – as you wish.

The contract also covers fees and cancellations, information about my modality and clinical supervision, and complaints procedure.

I will provide hard copies of my contract and data protection policy for you to take away with you.  If you require electronic or large print versions, please let me know.

You can end counselling whenever you feel ready.  It is usually helpful to have at least one last session to tie up any loose ends.

We will review our work at regular intervals to make sure you are getting what you need.  I will not give advice, tell you how to live your life or judge you.  Instead, I will help you to think things through (perhaps in very new ways!) and support you as you choose how to move forward.

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