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- What to Expect -

Initial Telephone Consultation:

I provide a free 15 minute initial telephone consultation, which is a fairly informal chance for us to get to know each other.

 

As such, this will involve me asking you some questions about you, the current difficulties you’ve been experiencing, what you hope to get from our sessions and what your expectations of counselling are. It’s also a chance for you to ask me any questions that you may have about our work together.

This consultation allows us the chance to see if we’re the right fit for each other, as counselling is such a personal process it is important to ensure that your counsellor feels right for you. This also allows me the chance to ensure that I can support you ethically - it is important to ensure that I am working ethically and within my competency, as such following this initial consultation I may decide that I am not the appropriate counsellor for you, and will refer you on to someone who can competently and ethically work with you.

 

If, however, after this consultation we’re both happy to work with each-other, then we will book you in for you first session. This article suggests some ways that you can make the most out of your initial consultation with me.

The First Session:

Assessment:

In-line with the BACP Ethical Framework, it is important for me to assess your risk, to ensure that I am able to work with you ethically and competently, and to ensure your safety. Prior to the first session, I will send you an assessment form to complete, alternatively this can be completed together in the first session if you prefer.

Contracting:

We will both sign a counselling contract to ensure that we adhere

to issues such as confidentiality, boundaries and data protection.

Case Formulation:

The first session involves me finding out more about you, including

a brief personal and medical history, to enable us to identify how

counselling can meet your wants and needs.

​Goal Setting:

As a pluralistic integrative counsellor, I often implement goal setting into my practice, to give us both an idea and direction for our counselling together (link here to why goals are beneficial). That being said, I implement goal setting on an individual basis, so if you would prefer to work without goals that is fine too, in these cases I usually offer a brief exploration as to what your hopes from our sessions may be.

The Therapeutic Process:

Sessions last for up to 50 minutes, known as the ‘therapeutic hour’, and they tend to take place weekly to allow you to get the most out of the counselling process - but we can be flexible with the frequency of your sessions, dependant upon your circumstances.

The number of sessions you choose to receive is entirely your choice, and is dependent upon your personal circumstances, the problems you are facing and the therapeutic approach that we choose to work with. This will be something that we discuss during our initial telephone consultation. I offer both short-term (4-6) and long-term (open-ended) sessions. As such, throughout our counselling we will have regular review periods, whereby we check in as to how you think you're doing in relation to your hopes/goals for counselling, and explore your intentions for further sessions.

For telephone counselling, I will call you at our agreed session time. For online counselling, I will send you a meeting link for an encrypted platform, such as Zoom or Teams, and will open the meeting up for you to join at our agreed time. In preparation for our sessions​, it is important for us both to be in a private and confidential space, with limited disruptions, where you feel able to talk openly without fear of being overheard. Yet, I understand there may be times where this is unavoidable, so please consider any other options carefully, such as having sessions in your car, as long as you are parked safely off road, and are unable to be overheard.

If finding a private and confidential space is difficult for you, such as if you are a single parent or people with young babies, let me know in our initial consultation and we can explore how our sessions may work in light of this.

Please note: sessions cannot take place if you are in a public space,

with someone else, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol​.

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