It’s Different For Everyone
Thinking about attending counselling for the first time can bring up a lot of different feelings: it may feel exciting, intimidating, confusing or a mix of all these and more.
A situation in which you are talking to a person you have never met before, in a place you have never been before, about things that you may not talk to many (or indeed any) other people about is going to pull up different emotions for different people. Sometimes people will worry that their psychologist is going to listen to them tell their story and then respond with the feedback that they are fundamentally broken and beyond help. Others will worry that their psychologist will dismiss their concerns as minor and not worth the psychologist’s time. Some people may be very excited about coming in and getting to talk about what has been on their mind. Some may worry that they will break down when they start talking about their difficulties and won’t be able to put themselves back together, and some may be concerned that because they are not exactly sure what is going on then this is a negative sign.
These feelings are understandable and are a very natural reaction to such a new situation. We aim to ensure that each client feels heard and that they come away from sessions feeling that they understand more about the issue that may be occurring, as well as feeling that progress can be made through engagement with the service.
Finding What Works For You
During your first appointment, your clinician will speak with you about what brings you in to session, what you may be struggling with and what your experiences of this are. This first session will also involve gathering a general history of the issue that you are experiencing, as well as understanding what factors may be influencing your experiences both in the past and the present. Following this, you will discuss what may be helpful in terms of engaging with treatment, as well as what positive change will mean for you and how this will be recognised inside and outside of sessions.
From here, the active intervention process of therapy will begin, and will typically require a number of subsequent sessions, with the mental health professional checking in with you at each point to ensure that treatment is moving in an effective and positive direction. There are a variety of therapeutic approaches used across the Spectrum Mental Health team, with each clinician using the approaches that work most effectively for them with different clients. A brief explanation of each therapeutic approach can be found here, with more information about our team members available here.
Working Together To Reach Your Goals
We encourage clients to be active consumers of our services and invite discussion about what your hopes or expectations are for the therapeutic process. We also welcome an overview of client’s goals. If, after 4-6 sessions, you feel you are not moving towards your goals this should be discussed openly in session, especially if the clinician has not already brought this up themselves.
As you start therapy or counselling it may be helpful to keep in mind that it is completely acceptable to be unclear about issues that you are experiencing. Similarly, you may not know exactly what you need to get yourself back on track. Often an important part of the process is determining specifically what it is that you are struggling with and what may be helpful for you to start feeling better.