Updated: Jul 2
Get Prepared for the Counselling Room
Amongst the other articles I’ve written, this one builds upon them and breaks down briefly, some things people may need to take in to account before seeing their new therapist.
This is a common theme I notice clients wondering during their very first therapy session and I don’t see much content on this topic so it’s always helpful enlightening potential clients what to expect and what they should know beforehand. Here are 5 points to keep in mind:
1) There’s always some type of intake forms which require information regarding your basic contact details, reason for entering therapy and potential goals/outcomes. Therefore it’s helpful if clients have some idea of what they’re expectations are before coming to therapy as this clarifies your reasons to the therapist and also saves time in the long run for both parties. It also means therapists can contact clients should schedules change or if the client does not turn up for therapy, to reassure if the client is safe.
2) Depending on the type of therapy, you may be given questionnaires either before or during the start of your first appointment to test for symptoms for example, anxiety or depression. This creates a baseline or reference point for client and therapist to look back for changes and can also serve as a starting point for your first session. Usually the highest number on the scales are discussed as they are the ones potentially distress in a client’s life. You would be surprised how deep the conversations get by using questionnaires. It helps to play detective and be willing to learn more about the client’s world.
3) If questionnaires are not used or there are no specific goals in mind i.e. improve relationship with spouse, then that’s okay. You can focus on the emotions and thoughts that arise for you at that point in time, your therapist can then help navigate those experiences and help you make better sense of things. Sometimes body language and emotions can be more descriptive than words.
4) Availability: How flexible are you and the therapist? This might have been a conversation you may have had over the phone prior to booking an appointment, if not then you can bring this up at the end of the session, so you can assess whether their schedule fits in with yours. Sometimes clients may wonder whether it’s better to see them the same time every week or every second week etc. You can always plan ahead by enquiring availability for the next month should you choose to go back for further sessions.
5) Lastly, remember that if you are unsure about anything, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the therapist to clarify. Sometimes clients can shy away and pretend they understand the therapists input only to find that when they apply the knowledge in therapy outside, things don’t quite work seamlessly. Whatever is learned in the therapy room should theoretically be applicable in the real world and if it doesn’t work out that way, you can bring this up with therapist for clarification.
This is a very brief conclusion of some main points that should be taken in to consideration when you see your therapist. For more guides, visit the rest of my blogs or get in touch for personalised therapy treatments.