Your first session will be an 'informal' assessment and in summary is used mainly to gauge whether or not we can work together. It's used for you to assess me too, you can ask any questions you may have; to help you decide whether you wish to continue therapy with me. It's crucial that you feel safe and comfortable with me to enable you to talk openly and freely, although I don't expect this to occur just within the first session. The 'therapeutic relationship' has been shown (by research) to be a crucial element to any 'success' in therapy but it obviously takes time to build and 'trust' just like any other relationship. However common feedback I receive is that people generally feel at ease with me very quickly, finding me very "down to earth."
If you feel that I'm not right for you then no offence will be taken; this is about you after all. There is no obligation to attend a second session. If we both feel that we can work together, then we will discuss the way forward.
I use the assessment to gain as full a picture of you and what as brought you to therapy as possible. I'll ask more questions during the assessment than any other session, covering such aspects as:
- How your 'issue' affects you? It's development and duration.
- If you've had any previous therapy.
- What you hope to achieve from therapy.
- Your support network and any coping strategies that you may already have in place.
- Your current lifestyle eg. sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise, social contact etc.
- Current relationships e.g. partner, friends, family, employment etc.
- Your life history, including any experiences you feel relevant, your family of origin and it's dynamics.
- Any areas of 'risk'.
And last, but not least; but crucially element of this first session that sets out the path for therapy; your goals and aims that you wish to achieve/attain.
'How long does Counselling take?'
Well that clearly varies as each person is different. I have seen people for anything from two, to sixty sessions! However from the assessment I'll have a general idea of what may be needed and we can the discuss the options available.
'How often do I attend?'
Again this is your choice. Most people attend weekly at first, then some move to fortnightly, then perhaps three weekly or monthly. Some return after many months using Counselling as a kind of check-in as life begins to become more manageable.
'How much does it cost?'
Sessions last for 50 minutes to 1 hour and cost:
£50.00 per session
I believe that counselling should be available to all who feel they need it, therefore I offer 'reduced rates' to those who are unemployed or on low income. This 'reduced rate' is negotiable but I will need proof of your income.