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A brief overall view of what to expect when coming to a counselling session

For some people coming to counselling for the first time can be daunting. You may feel anxious, fearful, happy or sad, a whole range of emotions. You can be assured that you will be greeted in a warm, and friendly way helping you to be at ease in the shortest possible time.

The first session is all about information gathering, and the beginning of the therapeutic relationship. I will typically ask questions, about you and your life, such things as, what brings you to therapy and any symptoms you may be experiencing. The information will help me to make an initial assessment of your present situation.

The contract between counsellor and client

Before counselling can begin, I will ask you to read and understand the written contract and agree to the terms and conditions that is for the benefit of both parties. This helps you as a client to understand what to expect from a counselling session. The contract will contain questions such as your name, address, age, and if you are currently taking medication, GP details. It will also include confidentiality, time boundaries and cancellations.


The contents of the session are confidential to you and me. I will use your first name, but not use any other identifying details about you. I will make brief notes, after each session, this can help me monitor my work, you will not be identified by these records as they are securely stored. I will also discuss how you would like to be contacted e.g. privately, telephone, email or other, this also protects your identity. In extreme rare circumstances where I believe that you could cause serious harm to yourself or to another person, I may have to contact my supervisor or your GP.

The beginning

The first session is a bit more structured than those that follow. Normally I will leave it up to you to begin a session to ensure we are talking about things that are important to you at the time. It is important to both to develop a relationship of trust. This can be achieved by clearly explaining the counselling contract, and coming to an initial agreement . This will include such things as reiterating, confidentiality, discussing times of sessions and importance of punctuality. Highlighting the procedure of cancellation, Illness, and appointments both by you and me the counsellor. Part of this session will be spent on contact details and you will be asked what brings you to counselling.


Each meeting is an opportunity for you to express the emotions that you may have been avoiding. Together we can explore the areas of your life that you may be struggling with. As your counsellor I will also be able to review concerns and various situations throughout the therapeutic relationship, and help you to acknowledge any progress that has been made. In a safe confidential environment I can offer you the opportunity to evaluate yourself and your life so that you can make wise and appropriate decisions about the future. I work in a personal centred way this means working together within a non judgemental honest and trusting relationship helping you to explore and make sense of your world.

Closing the session

A summary is given at the end of each session this gives a quick review and helps to focus on any key points that may have been forgotten during the session. We will also schedule any further future meetings.

Ending the counselling relationship

Transitions are a natural part of life and because we find comfort in the familiar they can be sometimes difficult. The ending phase of counselling will have hopefully been planned in advance. This will also give you the chance to express what the counselling process has been for you and what you have gained from it. We can also look at you the client and acknowledge how you may have changed and grow and possibly understand the old and look forward to the new. When the direction in life suddenly becomes clear it is time to make things happen.

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