There is no ‘perfect’ client: first sessions demystified
Having counselling for the first time can feel really daunting, especially right now if you’re opting for remote methods and feel unsure if you’ll be able to gel with your counsellor or feeling nervous about a face to face session after not seeing many people over the past 12 months.
These are valid concerns and it’s good you already know you feel a little uncomfortable about all of this. So, given you’ve decided counselling is for you, I’d imagine the general day to day discomfort has been enough for you to seek help in the first place. The fact you’re nervous or wary about now taking action and what that may look and feel like is the next source of concern, and rightly so.
I’d like to talk you through this, to explain and alleviate some of the concerns and stress you’re no doubt feeling:
I’ve been holding these for other 12 months now with as much success as if clients were sat in front of me. It requires the same client skill of doing what you can to verbalise your issues and concerns and hold some awareness of what you’d like to achieve or work on by having counselling. That’s really all a first session requires, your ability to talk about the problem at hand. I’ll provide you with some instructions about telephone and Zoom session procedures and you can choose which one you’d like to start with. If you don’t like the telephone session you can change to Zoom and vice versa; we can adapt to your preference and schedule.
Face to face:
Sat in a room facing a person you’ve only a had 15-minute conversation with prior to the session. Scary right? Yes, it can be, however as I mentioned, you’ve had the courage to acknowledge you need help, taken the first step in reaching out, booked in and arrived and made it to your chair… what next?
We’ll re-contract to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the service, I’ll ask you some additional questions around potential symptoms and then I’ll ask you for a bit more background.
What am I looking for?
Honesty, that’s really all I need- it can be hard peeling back the layers and feeling vulnerable for 50 minutes, however once that first 10 minutes has passed and you’ve shared a few lines of your story, I’ve seen it happen time and again that despite the initial feelings of vulnerability and feeling exposed, some confidence grows and shines out. I get to ‘see’ you and it may only be a glimpse but I’ll get sight of the real you: vulnerabilities, strengths, passions, traits; the many aspects that make you who you are.
The reality is that by the end of the session you’ll have interviewed me as much as I’ve interviewed you, but I’m not judging if you’ll be the ‘perfect client,’ I’m listening to you, working hard to understand what you’re asking of me and of yourself. Your CV doesn’t matter to me and your past isn’t something I’ll use to prevent your growth, quite the opposite, if the past is what you want to focus on we can use it to help you, not keep you feeling trapped by it.
I want to know if you’ll commit to yourself, to the challenges ahead, if you’re willing to repair what’s broken in yourself or make decisions that will change the course of your life.
I don’t have any expectations of you other than what’s been mentioned: honesty, a willingness to change, a willingness to arrive, show up and commit and to working with me rather than against me. There will be challenges, differences of opinion and we’ll both be responsible for keeping the sessions on track and inline with any goals you have.
Counselling is a decision to enter into some team work, a professional and therapeutic relationship, for however long you think it’s beneficial to do so. I won’t keep you in therapy for longer than you need, or want to be there.
I’ll encourage you to have a voice and express whether you think I’m right for you, what you want out of this and I’ll be honest about if I have the right credentials for you too. I’ll never work outside my capabilities, so you can be sure that if I say I can support you then I will support you to the best of my abilities.
Whatever your story, past or sadness, counselling can help. For a free consultation please click Contact today. I can help you get from A to B, it just takes one call to decide if I’m right for you.