What happens in a session?

This is a difficult question to answer as each session is unique. You and I are unique individuals and we have never met before, so what happens when we meet will never have happened before either. However, each first session does follow a similar pattern.

I'll usually great you at the door with your first name and invite you in, then lead you into the counselling room. Once you are settled I'll explain to you that everything we talk about in counselling is confidential, subject to a very few exceptions and go through these with you. If you're happy to continue, I'll then ask you a few basic details about yourself such as your name (I usually only know your first name up to this point), address, phone numbers, etc.

This means that, for the first few minutes of the session, I'm doing most of the talking. While the things I'm saying are important, this also gives you a time to settle your nerves and calm down. Almost everyone gets anxious before their first appointment.

Once I've completed the initial paperwork, I'll say something like, "okay, where would you like to begin?" Then it's over to you. How much you say is up to you. Some people tell their life story, others jump right into a particular issue, and some just use the time to explore things slowly, building trust.  All of these, and may more variations, are perfectly valid ways of using the time.

Remember, I'm here for you. This is your counselling, your time to use as you please. There is no right or wrong way to use the time and we will go at whatever pace works for you. I'm not going to push you to talk about anything or ask prying questions. What you say and how much you say is totally your choice. If, at any point, you want to stop the session, or just take a break, you can. You are in control.

Towards the end of the session (which usually lasts about 50 minutes), I'll summarise what I've heard you say; just to make sure I've got the right end of the stick. I'll then ask you if you feel you would like to continue with counselling. If, for any reason, you don't feel counselling with me is for you, just say "no". I won't ask why or anything, we'll just say goodbye and part on good terms.  If you do want to continue, I'll go through the remaining paperwork and make another appointment with you. You only pay for the first session if you feel that you want to continue.

If, after reading this, you have any further questions, please do call to discuss them. I'm happy to talk with you,