The thought of coming to see a counsellor can be terrifying and concerning if you have never done it before.
The first stage of deciding to undertake therapy is to admit that you have a need or issue that requires professional support. This can be difficult, however a brave step forward to improve your life. Talking therapy can cover memories you may have suppressed – however you will be in a safe environment and fully supported.
The process starts with a free consultation that will take around 30 minutes that will identify if/what health needs you, as an individual have.
We will then both agree on a treatment plan to address any issues the free consultation has identified.
When you come into see me for counselling, I will provide a non-judgmental, open and honest environment. I believe it is essential that there is honesty from each of us.
The first decision that has to be made is if we are a ‘good’ match in terms of what you wish to achieve and what I feel I can help you with.
We will also draw up some ground rules of the work we will be completing together and also complete a care plan and a crisis plan (if you feel it is required).
It is also imperative that we discuss expectations of the therapy, and how we will look and talk about the issues you are facing. Anyway in which I can reassure you I will about the process we will be going through based on your personal needs.
Remember, counselling is a team effort. If you don’t take an active part in the session, you won’t find the counselling experience valuable. Here are some things you can do to make your first session as successful as possible.
- Be open. Therapists are trained to ask the right questions, but they’re not mind readers. The therapist can do their job more effectively, if you answer the questions openly and honestly.
- Be prepared. Before you get to the session, know how to describe “What’s wrong,” and to describe your feelings about your problem. One way to prepare is to write down the reasons you’re seeking help. Make a list and then read it out loud. Hearing yourself say it a few times will help you describe things more clearly to the therapist.
- Ask questions. The more you understand the counselling experience or how counselling works, the more comfortable you’ll be. Ask questions about the therapy process, and ask the therapist to repeat anything you don’t understand.
- Be open and honest about your feelings. A lot will be going through your head in this first session. Listen to your own reactions and feelings, and share them with the therapist. You will not receive ANY judgement but will be treated with respect and your own space to discuss what you feel is important. You’ll both learn from these insights.
- Be sure to go to your first session with realistic expectations. Therapy is not a quick fix – it is more of a working progress. With some effort on your part and a strong relationship with your therapist, it can be a successful tool toward resolving problems.
Author: Liz Taylor, BA (Hons).
Liz Taylor is a social worker with over ten years’ experience in helping people with personality disorders and other mental health issues. Liz’s counselling strategies are drawn from the Relapse Prevention Model, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). She is passionate about enabling her clients to function and feel a sense of control in their lives, and to achieve the goals and outcomes that they wish.
To make an appointment with mental health social worker and counselling professional, Liz Taylor, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.