Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – email@example.com
This is a sort of counselling “blog” to give you a flavour of how I work. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above
What are first sessions like? People often approach counselling with trepidation, so let me first assure you that I do not have a couch or a bad Austrian accent. The counselling room where I work is an informal setting where we can sit and talk – it’s nothing more threatening than that. It is a safe environment where anything you tell me is treated confidentially, and I will not judge you or criticise you for things you have done, for thoughts you have, or for feelings you are experiencing.
I’ll start off the first session by talking briefly about confidentiality and one or two other little details that are important before we start. This will only take a couple of minutes, then the session will be open for you to talk about what has brought you to counselling and what you are hoping for from it. If you are attending as a couple, I will be keen to hear from both of you, to hear your different views and understand if you have different objectives.
The first session is very much an exploratory one. We won’t spend time filling in forms or following a fixed agenda; we’ll see where the session takes us, we’ll follow our noses. One reason that I like to work in this way is that I think it gives you a good feel for what I’m like as a counsellor, and what it will be like to work with me. It is absolutely vital that you feel comfortable with me, and are able to be open and honest in the counselling room. So the first session is very much about you getting to know me a bit, and about you being able to answer a big question : “Can this help me?”
There’s usually a lot to cover in the first session, but I will make sure that we spend the last 5 minutes or so talking about what happens next. It may be that for some reason either you or I don’t feel comfortable with the relationship, in which case we’ll agree to go no further. More often we’ll feel that there is benefit in meeting again, in which case we’ll need to talk about some of the practicalities about counselling before the session ends.
Assuming you do want to go ahead with further counselling, we’ll need to decide how often to meet. Weekly sessions are usually a good starting point, because they give you time to reflect on things while giving you continuity of counselling. But there are no hard and fast rules – the frequency of meetings is largely up to you, and I will be as flexible as possible to make sure that your needs are met.
When the first session is over, it can be a huge relief. If you were nervous coming in, you hopefully feel much less nervous going out. And just talking about what is going on for you can be enormously helpful. Nothing may actually have changed, but holding stuff in your head as it whirrs round is very stressful and telling someone else about it usually releases a lot of that stress.
It is the first step in the counselling process.