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What to expect at your first session

During your first session in counselling, you can generally expect the following:

  1. Introduction: The therapist will introduce themselves, explain their qualifications, and provide an overview of the counselling process.
  2. Paperwork: You may be asked to fill out some initial paperwork, including consent forms, privacy policies, and a brief questionnaire about your background and reasons for seeking counselling.
  3. Establishing Trust: The therapist will aim to create a safe and non-judgmental space where you can feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings.
  4. Goals and Expectations: You’ll discuss your goals and expectations for therapy. What do you hope to achieve or address during your counselling sessions?
  5. Assessment: The therapist may ask questions to better understand your current emotional state, life circumstances, and any symptoms or concerns you have.
  6. Confidentiality: They will explain the limits of confidentiality, outlining when and how they might need to break confidentiality (e.g., if there’s a risk of harm to yourself or others).
  7. Therapeutic Approach: The therapist may explain their therapeutic approach and how they plan to work with you. Different therapists use various techniques and methods.
  8. Questions and Answers: You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the counseling process, their qualifications, or anything else related to therapy.
  9. Building Rapport: Establishing a connection between you and the therapist is crucial, and the first session often focuses on building rapport and trust.
  10. Next Steps: You’ll discuss how frequently you’ll meet (weekly) and any homework or exercises you might be assigned between sessions (if appropriate).
  11. Length of Session: The first session might be longer than subsequent sessions, lasting 60-75 mins.

Remember that the first session is a chance for both you and the therapist to get to know each other and determine if you’re a good fit for working together. It’s an opportunity to express your concerns and set the stage for the therapeutic relationship. Be open and honest during this session to ensure you receive the most beneficial support.