Counselling PracticE

What to expect from your first counselling session

You’ve made a decision to try counselling and have booked your first session.

Here’s what you can expect from your first counselling session through The Hill Counselling Practice.

We work to an appointment schedule and it is not typical for us to run behind.  Sessions begin at your agreed appointment time, whether online or in-person. If you do find yourself running late for an appointment, your therapist will wait for you to arrive, and will use as much time that remains in the appointment.  If you attend an appointment in-person this means you will be coming to our premises in Padiham.  Our offices are on the first floor, and we’ll be expecting your arrival. We do not have a waiting area so please arrive as close to your appointment time as you are able.

Expect to talk about how you feel 

We’re going right in with the therapy cliché of ‘how does that make you feel’?  One principle of therapy is that it aims to help you connect to your feelings so you can better understand yourself, there is no avoiding it; that question in some way, shape or form is going to crop up therefore it might be useful to take some time beforehand to consider what you expect the first session to be like?  Is there anything you feel apprehensive about?  What expectations do you have?  How do you imagine you will feel after your first session?

Of course you might have other thoughts or feelings around it and that’s OK.  It can be normal to come to the first session feeling a little nervous, overwhelmed, confused, perhaps even relieved or optimistic and it can be useful to acknowledge that with your therapist. There is no right or wrong way to feel. You are welcome as you are.

50 minute sessions

Individual 1:1 sessions are 50 minutes in duration (unless otherwise stated by your therapist). This is quite standard for therapy appointments.  Time boundaries are a way to show and express respect for each other's time, and a way to communicate respect for each other within the therapeutic relationship.

Dedicated counselling  rooms

Each therapist has their own office within our premises with seating for you and the therapist and so you can expect to be in the same room for every appointment. Our offices are designed to be comfortable, calm spaces; there are cushions and throws you are welcome to use to help you settle and each room has water and tissues

We have a toilet available for client use.



The Therapeutic Relationship

It is often said that the therapeutic relationship is the key to successful therapy, put simply that means you need to be able to feel that you speak openly & honestly without fear of judgement, you need to feel that you can trust your therapist in terms of confidentiality and that they are genuine in their demonstration of care and support of your desire to change/improve/develop.

The therapeutic relationship, like any relationship, takes time to build and so there is no expectation in session one that you will automatically trust your therapist and ‘tell all’ but you should get an initial sense as to whether you feel comfortable to continue working together. If you don’t … that’s OK, you are under no obligation to commit to sessions.  If you do decide to engage in more sessions, you can expect frequent reviews to discuss whether you are getting what you need from the sessions and the relationship.


The Counselling Contract

It's standard in all therapy relationships for ‘contracting’ to take place.  Some therapists call it a ‘contract’, others an ‘agreement’ essentially it is the T&C’s of therapy.  This will be part of your first session and the therapists at The Hill Counselling Practice will also provide you with a written copy of their contract, this will give you an opportunity to read through it and ask any questions.

Contracts offer clarity around confidentiality, processes around the re-scheduling and cancellation of appointments, fees and GDPR. once it has been discussed in the first session and both parties are happy with the t&cs, the document then becomes a shared agreement. As part of the contracting there are some basic contact details required for our work, such as a contact number and email and we may collect these during the first session. These will be used (upon agreement) to manage appointments or provide you with notifications, we may also ask for an emergency contact name and number. Some therapists will require more information, you may wish not to share more details and  that can be discussed.  All therapists at The Hill Counselling Practice are registered with the ICO.

Why you are here

All of the above might take up the first 10-15 minutes of the first session and then we will move on to look at the three W’s: ‘What brings you to therapy’, ‘Why now’ and ‘What you hope to achieve through counselling’?  Those things will likely use the remainder of the session and you will leave with a sense of what therapy looks and feels like and possibly what you might like to focus on in future sessions, should you wish to continue.

We hope this blog gives you a good idea of what to expect from your first counselling session, we look forward to working with you.

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