So you are thinking of taking a leap to begin your counselling journey, but sometimes the unknown can cause uneasiness or even prevent us from taking the step to booking the initial appointment. We may go into a cycle of minimizing our worries and experiences and/or difficulty identifying goals. Reaching out for support is the first step that makes you one step closer to living the best version of yourself and addressing any challenges along the way. Remember – you are the expert of your life, and I am here to support you through the challenging moments and to provide you with the tools along the way.
5 Things You Can Expect in Your First Counselling Appointment:
Upon booking your initial appointment, you will receive a virtual intake form to complete before the appointment. The collected information will revolve around your past, present circumstances and future goals. Additionally, it will involve you signing consent forms that review confidentially, cancellation and payment policies. I, the practitioner, will review it prior to the appointment.
The session will begin with reviewing the confidentiality policy and obtaining consent (again!), outlining the process of the session, and discussing some techniques that can be used in the current and future sessions.
Establishing a Therapeutic Relationship
An essential foundational aspect of successful counselling is establishing a therapeutic relationship with the practitioner. What does this consist of? The building of a therapeutic relationship begins in the first session. This is where you and the practitioner get to know each other and begin developing trust and a safe space to be vulnerable. It involves you asking questions, and discussing your needs, hesitations about counselling, and what had previously worked or did not.
Getting to Know You
What brought you to seek out counselling? Together we will identify the ways to look inwards and make connections about any relevant aspects of your past, present and future.
Plan for Future Sessions
By the end of the session, we will review the information discussed and develop some goals of what we will be working on for future sessions. Additionally, you may be provided with some resources/tools to support you until the next session.
Following the first session, it is natural to experience some emotions surfacing. It is a way for the body and mind to release stored emotions you may have been carrying. I typically encourage having a journal or using a voice-recording app to note what comes up, as it can be a helpful method in processing and identifying our emotions. Lastly, I would like to remind you that as we slowly unpack, learn to look at new perspectives and re-connect to ourselves, healing does not have a set timeline. Therefore, honouring yourself is allowing yourself to be present and not rushing the process.