What You Can Expect from Your First Counselling Session With Me. Your Guide to Starting Therapy

Image of a child standing in front of a long flight of stairs, contemplating taking the first step. A symbol of contemplating starting counselling.

Ah, the trepidation I felt as I set off for my first-ever counselling session as a client! "What if I’m late? Who am I going to see? Will I like them? Will they like me, or are they going to see me as broken as I feel? What will they ask me about? Will they understand me or judge me? Am I going to make a fool of myself? Is it worth the trouble? Is counselling going to help at all?..."


These were some of my uncertainties. I wonder whether you have any, and whether I can ease them a bit by giving you some ideas of what you can expect.


What You Can Expect from Me as Your Counsellor on Your Way to Your First Therapy Session


First of all, I consider nervousness before your first session normal. You can expect that I'll be mindful of that when you arrive. To some extent, I feel nervous before meeting each new client too. After all, the first session involves meeting a new person, and to you, it also involves opening up a little about your difficulties… to a stranger. This is no mean feat. And I commend you for it. So when you arrive, I’ll try to put you at ease.


You can also rest assured that I won’t judge you. You can tell me any number of weird and wonderful things about yourself, and I’ll welcome them all. I won’t think that there’s something wrong with you. True, you may have habits that you’re unhappy about because they may not serve you well, but I believe that there’s nothing wrong with you. The habits you’re unhappy with, or that you’ve been criticised for, started as responses to something unsupportive in your life and, over time, became wired in. These responses were exactly what you needed at the time. There was nothing wrong with you for doing them. And now you're starting counselling to update them. In other words, you're taking responsibility. So, yet again, there's nothing wrong with you!!! Nothing to be judged for. This is my firm view of you as I open my front door for you.


Another thing you can expect from me from the moment we first meet each other is that I believe in your potential to make positive changes. You may often doubt that you have it in you to change, but I am certain of it. Every living being—plants, animals, and humans—can heal and thrive if they find themselves in supportive environments. And so can you. I believe this with every fibre of my being. Hopefully, counselling will be the supportive environment for you that will enable you to make a shift in your life.


You can also expect practical support from me in finding the counselling room. After you book the session, I’ll email you the address, maps, and pictures of the place, and information on parking. I hope this will ease any unnecessary nerves on the day. By the way, parking is free, and we won’t meet in an office but in my very own front room. Welcome to my home 🙂


What You Can Expect from the Session


So, what will happen in the first session?

The first session is all about us getting to know each other and seeing whether we’re a good fit.

It's perfectly okay to come to the session, form a first impression of me, and decide that I’m not your cup of tea. I certainly hope that you’ll feel comfortable with me and confident that we can work together, but ultimately, it’s your choice.


During this session, I’ll ask you about what brings you to counselling and what you’d like to achieve. This will help me determine whether I have the training and experience necessary to provide you with the best service. If I’m not qualified to work with you, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.


I’ll also explain a bit about how I work as a counsellor. This session is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about counselling in general, as well as my approach, training, and experience. I’ll also invite you to share any concerns or uncertainties you may have about the counselling process. What I say in response and the way I say it will help you decide if I’m the right therapist for you.


If we both find that we’re a good fit, we’ll negotiate a working agreement. We’ll talk about confidentiality, payment arrangements, cancellation policy, and other practical issues. Once we've found a weekly time slot that suits us both, we’ll be ready to start the exciting work of self-discovery and learning new ways of being.


After the session, you may feel a sense of relief for having started sharing your challenges. But it’s also possible that you’ll feel unsure about the session. Whatever you feel, it’s okay. Therapy is a process, and it may take time to see progress.


I hope I’ve answered some of your questions about your first counselling session. And, more importantly, I hope you’ll feel just a bit less nervous about it, whether you first meet me or another therapist. If you have any more questions or concerns, please let me know either in the comments below or in the contact form, or in an email. I’ll be happy to answer.


If you feel ready to give counselling a go, contact me now. I’d love to meet you and potentially work with you if we’re a good fit, that is 🙂

©Counselling for Personal Empowerment

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