If you have decided to try counselling, you might be feeling anxious about your first session. Making the decision to get help and address the issues you are facing is an important first step and should be commended. Knowing what to expect from a counselling session should help you feel more prepared and less nervous about your first appointment.
In your first session it is likely that your therapist will ask you some questions in order to gain an understanding of what's worrying you and the way your thought processes work. All of the information obtained here will be used to help you in future sessions.
Why are you seeking counselling? -
You will most likely be asked what it is that has brought you here. This is your opportunity to discuss exactly why you are there and what you hope to gain from counselling.
• What is your current situation and personal history? - It is important to let your therapist know your current situation, this includes any day-to-day issues you are facing and even your work and home life. Discussing your personal history will give your therapist a chance to understand more about you as a person and why these issues may have occurred.
• What symptoms are you experiencing? - Whether these are physical or psychological, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your therapist.
It is advised that you be honest and open when answering these questions in order to get the most out of your counselling sessions.
Sessions typically last around 45 minutes and occur once per week. Weekly sessions help to develop a strong therapeutic relationship and establish momentum toward your treatment goals. Session frequency may be tapered as you progress and become more comfortable applying what you have learned in therapy.
Research shows that the duration of therapy is variable and can be influenced by the specific therapy interventions used, the strength of the relationship with your therapist, as well as factors specific to you. These other factors may include your goals, personal characteristics, the nature, severity, chronicity, and complexity of the problem(s) you are experiencing, external factors such as what else is happening in your life and available social support, the extent to which you actively engage in the treatment, and how comfortable you are with making changes.
Depending on your specific needs and goals, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with recurrent life patterns or your desire for more in-depth personal growth. Some clients experience significant improvement very quickly (4-8 sessions) but some clients may require longer term treatment. Therapy is a collaborative process and your progress and goals will be discussed during the course of treatment.
Counselling often requires you to discuss upsetting emotions and painful memories. Bringing up these thoughts can feel difficult to start with and, initially, you may feel worse. This process is necessary to move forward and in time, you should start to feel better.
To get the most from your counselling sessions you should aim to make them consistent. Some sessions will feel more helpful than others, but it is important to realise that everything your therapist is doing is designed to help you in the long run, even if it doesn't feel like it in the beginning.
It is also worth remembering that counselling is not a quick fix and that your therapist will not be able to tell you what to do. The counselling process requires a strong relationship between you and your therapist and a degree of effort on your part - together these two elements create a successful method to help you resolve your issues.
The way counselling can help will depend on the person receiving the treatment. For many, the fact that counselling offers a safe and confidential environment to speak in is all it takes. In life, what we say to others can sometimes have a knock-on effect, altering relationships and the way people see each other. Counselling eliminates this problem and offers you the space and freedom to explore your own thoughts with an unbiased party.
While therapists may not give you concrete advice or a checklist of things to do to feel better, what they will do is help you uncover your own insight and understanding of your problems providing you with the tools which will help you to resolve them on your own.
In the majority of cases, a single session will not be enough to help overcome any issues you're facing. Counselling is a journey, and it takes time and consistency to work effectively. Because of this, many people opt for regular counselling sessions to make the most of the process.
Counselling can help you understand yourself better and the way you think, which will ultimately help you develop a clearer understanding of your problems. The more armed with information you are, the easier it gradually becomes to navigate your way through any difficulties you are facing so that eventually you can come out the other side feeling more positive. Counselling can also help you understand other people's point of view better, which can shed light onto the way you interpret words or actions.
Yes, some of our therapists work with children ages 5 and up.
We do not prescribe medications. We are fully respectful of individuals’ decision to use or not to use medication and we are happy to work collaboratively with family physicians and psychiatrists in this regard.
The relationship between therapist and client is protected by law and information cannot be disclosed without written consent. The only exceptions are if and when there is suspected child abuse/neglect or when the client threatens serious harm to self or others, in which case every effort is made to ensure the safety of those affected as required by law.