Some clients have a regular appointment schedule where they come at the same time every week or every fortnight. Other clients come every 3 or 4 weeks depending on their availability; people that I have worked with for years might come in occasionally when needed. Ultimately it's up to you in terms of how often you would like to come.
How long are the counselling sessions?
The sessions are 1 hour in length. The first session is usually a little longer although there is no extra charge for the longer time. A slightly longer time is needed in the first session so I can hear and understand your concerns and reactions to the current issue. I will give you some feedback at the end of the first session regarding the nature of the problems you are experiencing with some suggestions as to how to move forward. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and express what you hope to gain from the counselling experience.How many sessions will we/I need?
I work with couples for between 3-20 sessions with the average amount of sessions being anywhere from 3-10, although some clients have found between 4-5 sessions to be sufficient. It all depends upon your personal needs, the longevity of the relationship, the severity of the problems and the degree of commitment of the clients. You should start to experience changes in your relationship from around session 2/3 although further exploration is usually needed to ensure those changes are long lasting.
Individual counselling can be anywhere from 1-10 sessions whereas psychotherapy might involve more sessions depending upon the needs of the individual. At regular intervals you will be asked for your reflections and experience of the counselling to ensure you are gaining the best possible support and outcomes for yourself. I try to give clients an approximation of how many sessions they may need in the early stages of the work.
What happens if I need to cancel a session?
Like most counsellors I do have a cancellation fee. If less than 24 hours notice is given then 50% of the full fee will be charged. It would be helpful if you could let me know by ringing and leaving a voice message or sending through a text.
How long will I need to wait for an appointment?
I will do my best to accommodate you as soon as possible although usually there is a wait of up to a week. My evening appointments are very popular and often booked up a long time in advance.
When do I pay?
Payment is by Eftpos, credit card or cash at the end of the session.
What about if I want couple counselling but my partner won't come with me?
Couple counselling can be effective with just one of the partners present as it is a good opportunity to spend time reflecting on the patterns and behaviours you have experienced in the relationship. Focusing on you as an individual and your place and role in the relationship is a safe and productive means of working particularly if you are worried about expressing your concerns in front of your partner or if there is domestic violence. Some clients have initially come to me as individuals and then after a few sessions their partner shows interest and wants to come along as well.
What about Confidentiality?
The sessions are private and confidential and any personal details or notes taken will be stored under lock and key using a split system where your details cannot be matched to the session notes. It is normal for counsellors to take notes after a session to ensure progress and continuity in your treatment. However it is important for all counsellors to receive supervision from another trained practitioner to ensure they are serving your needs. Details regarding your therapy may be discussed with a supervisor during your therapy but your anonymity will always be preserved. I ask all my clients if I may tape the majority of the sessions; I listen to parts of the tape at home and then delete the session. It helps me to help you so I don't have to take notes in the session and I can listen to the session again to help facilitate your ongoing progress.