What happens in the Counselling Sessions?
Counselling and Psychotherapy is a structured and well organised process where the therapist and client work together to agree on suitable strategies to achieve success
The first session
The first session gives you the opportunity to tell your story and share your concerns. The counsellor will ask you what sense you make of what's has been happening in your life or relationship and towards the end of the session will give you some feedback regarding the issues you are experiencing. Some time will be spent on negotiating whether you feel comfortable working with the therapist and whether the counsellor feels they can assist you with your concerns. I usually am able to give clients an idea of how many sessions may be suitable by the end of session 1.
Therapy is a collaborative process and you are under no obligation to commit to continued counselling just as if the therapist feels your concerns are beyond their expertise they will arrange for you to be referred to another professional. A thorough assessment of your situation will be made by the counsellor to ensure your goals can be met in a timely manner.
If you do decide to continue with further sessions, only at this stage will the counsellor ask you to complete a consent form which will state the counsellor's policies. This places you under no obligation to continue with the counselling but does address the issues concerning privacy, confidentiality and cancellation procedures.
Therapy is an interpersonal or collaborative process where the client and counsellor work together to achieve the goals or aims agreed upon. As the therapy develops goals may need adjustment or aims may change. Your counsellor will help to guide the process to ensure you start seeing some change from session 2 or 3 onwards.
I use an emotionally focused approach to counselling alongside interventions from other modalities such as CBT, narrative and Imago relationship therapy. Your opinion and views regarding the therapy will be sought as the process unfolds.
Coming to an end
By the end of your therapy you will have a range of strategies in place to minimise the risk of relapse or a variety of methods to manage your symptoms. Often people know instinctively when therapy should come to an end.
You will need to give the therapist at least one session's advanced notice of your intention to finish the counselling so closure for both parties can be achieved in a final meeting.
How long will it take?
You may have a rough idea of how many sessions you want before you start therapy or you may be unsure as to how many you will need. It depends upon many factors including the nature of the presenting problem, its severity, whether external support is available, financial and personal commitment to the therapy.
Ultimately it depends upon your needs and the pace you would like to work at.