What to Expect when starting counselling

Therapy

It’s normal to feel Nervous

For many people, starting counselling can be anxiety provoking. To help manage this, it may be helpful to understand what those initial contacts with a Psychologist might involve. Whilst every clinic completes their intake and assessment process a little differently, below is an overview of what you can expect at Uplift Psychology.

i’ve booked an appointment… now what?

You will be sent an email confirming your appointment along with some helpful information. Prior to your first session, you will also be asked to complete some intake forms. These forms contain information about the payment and cancellation policy, how your sensitive information is handled and screening questionnaires. At Uplift Psychology, you are able to complete all of these online. If needed, please feel comfortable to ask questions about any of the forms prior to completing them.

The first session

The first one to two sessions generally involve getting to know one another. You will be invited to share what has lead you to reach out for support. These initial sessions may be a little more structured to help cover off all the important background information. Some people have long or complex histories and talking about this can feel overwhelming. It is important to remember that you don’t need to cover everything in the early sessions. We can circle back to anything that might be relevant as counselling progresses.

Goals

After the background information has been covered off, we may then start to talk about goals for counselling and develop a plan or approach to support you with your goals. As part of this, your Psychologist will be able to provide some guidance regarding the frequency, duration, and type of treatment. Your Psychologist may provide information regarding specific types of counselling or strategies which may be helpful to you. In these early sessions providing some education about the mental health issue you are dealing with can help to normalise what you are experiencing.

Getting the Most out of counselling

  • Dealing with uncomfortable emotions: It is common to feel uncomfortable, nervous or even anxious at various points during counselling sessions. We may be discussing topics which you rarely talk about, or perhaps have never shared with anyone else before. If you find these emotions are making it challenging to engage with counselling, it may be helpful to share how you are feeling with your Psychologist.
  • Practice: What you do in between your counselling sessions matters. Whilst it may be helpful talking about your problems in session, often the benefits come from practicing new techniques or strategies you have learned. Commitment to practicing the strategies learned in counselling, may help to resolve symptoms more quickly.
  • Come prepared: Counselling is an active process. Whilst your Psychologist is likely to have a general idea about a treatment plan and topics to be covered, they are not the expert in your life. You are! Spending time preparing for your counselling session may be a helpful way guide your sessions. You might like to do this by reflecting on the successes and challenges since your last session and sharing these at the start of your session. This will help the Psychologist to target the support provided so that it is meaningful and valuable for you.

If you would like to learn more about the counselling process or how I can help, contact Uplift Psychology for a confidential chat.


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