Your First Consultation
Your first consultation will be different from future consultations. This is because the initial consultation session is a period for you and your therapist to get to know each other and get an idea of how to proceed. Future visits will likely be more therapeutic in nature.
At the beginning of your first session your therapist -whether a ‘counsellor’ / ‘psychotherapist’ or psychologist’- will briefly run through important paperwork with you. This will include completing a form with basic personal information and a consent form that covers issues such as confidentiality, fees and other important information about the sessions. If you have been referred by a GP or psychiatrist, we will discuss the details of your Mental Health Treatment Plan at this point.
After completing paperwork the remainder of the session is usually spent discussing the issues that have brought you into therapy. As well as developing a thorough understanding of your concerns, your therapist will explore relevant background history, for example, information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past counselling that you have done. Based on this information we will begin to help you to understand more about what might be triggering and maintaining your current issues. If time allows we will also work with you to develop a collaborative and flexible plan for future therapy sessions.
More particularly, during the first session, you will likely be asked about such things as:
- What brought you to therapy?
- What do you feel is wrong in your life?
- What are your symptoms? – how long they have been present, and information about the timing of their onset;
- Past experiences you may have had with therapy – if there was anything about your past experience that was particularly helpful or not;
- Some questions about your history, including childhood, education, relationships (family, romantic, friends) current living situation, your career and life goals;
- Many counsellors will view the first therapy session as an evaluation period -the goal here is to get to know one another better and to see if you and your counsellor are a good fit;
- And of course, your counsellor will want to fully explore your goals for therapy to understand better what you are hoping to get out of the experience.
Keep in mind that both counselling and psychotherapy usually requires multiple visits, so it is best not to expect any instant solutions to any problem on your first consultation. Indeed, therapy is about equipping you with life-long solutions and should not be considered a quick fix.
How many sessions do people tend to see a therapist for?
Every person has a different journey through therapy. This is largely dependent on the nature of why they are coming in and what it is that they are hoping to get out of sessions.
Some people come to see a psychologist to develop coping strategies to reduce or manage symptoms of mental illness. This type of work can be short to medium term, but might also involve checking in less frequently over the longer-term to deal with setbacks or prevent relapse.
Other people come to therapy to understand long-standing patterns (such as relationship issues) that stem from experiences during their childhood, or to receive ongoing support. This type of work tends to happen over an extended period of time, although again, this is dependent on client preferences.
Sometimes people come to therapy for a one off session or just a handful of sessions to speak about a specific issue in their life or to talk through a particular concern. Although problems and challenges are typically what bring people to therapy (at least initially), therapy can also be a space for self-development and growth.
As to developing a particular therapeutic plan going forward, it is more likely this will occur in your second consultation because in reality until then it is unlikely that there will be sufficient information before the therapist from which to give full consideration to a path forward.
It is also likely that you will be asked to complete a ‘personal observation’ questionnaire before your second consultation which will assist your therapist to better understand your particular learning styles and behaviours. We call this ‘homework’.
We at CBT Counselling & Psychotherapy look forward to helping you. If you require any further information about our Counselling and Psychotherapeutic services, please phone or email us via the ‘Contact Us‘ / ‘Phone‘ buttons displayed on your screen.
Free 10min Phone Consultation
If you’ve decided it’s time to seek out a counselling, then you’ve already done the hardest part by recognising that you could use support with your mental health or an emotional issue.
To help you decide if you are ready to begin therapy, we offer a free 10-minute phone consultation in which we can discuss the problems you are experiencing and how counselling and psychotherapy might benefit you.
Of course, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and together we can decide whether ours is the best counselling and therapy service for you. To book your free phone consultation, please click on the button below: