What will happen in the first session? 

During our first session I will do my best to make you feel relaxed and comfortable and will take some details from you.  I will also outline our working agreement and explain what is meant by confidentiality.  You will be given a chance to ask any questions and outline the main issues you would like to address through counselling.  The first session is a mutual assessment for us both to decide if we can work together.

How long will I need counselling for?

This varies from person to person and the length of our work together is up to you.  Some people find they would like to do some short term work in six sessions (though you are free to end earlier), whilst others feel they would like to take more time to explore underlying issues and look at any repeating patterns. In the case of longer term counselling we review our work together every six sessions to check that we are going in the right direction and that you are happy with the focus of our work. 

Isn't counselling just like chatting with a friend?

In some ways it is similar but it also a very unique kind of relationship.  Counsellors have specific training which enables them to understand why people behave or relate to others in ways that may be unhelpful.  They are also able to draw on techniques and theories to enable them to support clients to talk through feelings and experiences in order to gain a new perspective on their lives. A counsellor carefully listens with warmth and empathy and with no judgement, and they will not try to impose their advice or opinions on their clients.  They may gently guide and sometimes challenge a client to think about things from a fresh stance, but they will never try to control the sessions or coerce a client to talk about something they don't want to.

Why is a session 50 minutes long?

Research has shown that the 50 minute therapeutic hour is the optimum time for the client to get the most out of a session and for the counsellor to be able to give their best.   Counsellors stick to time boundaries and if you are late for a session they will still finish the session at the scheduled time.  If you arrive early you will need to wait in the waiting area until the allotted time.