Before the first session
You might simply have found out all you need to know from this website and booked a session via email or we might have spoken on the phone to give you some idea of what it is like talking with me.
In the first session
I might ask you to tell me something about yourself that is not connected to the problem and then I’ll ask you what your best hopes from doing therapy. We’ll also talk about how you will know that you no longer need therapy, the things you might be feeling, thinking and doing at that point in the future. We’ll end the session with me giving feedback and also asking for your feedback so we both can identify what might have work well and what could work better for you. With your permission I will take notes and give you a copy of them to take away.
What if you can’t pinpoint what you want out of counselling? It’s enough to know that you don’t want to be in the place you are now. Together we can uncover where you would rather be. That destination will guide and frame our sessions. Sometimes people have strong emotions that need to be soothed. I have found that until I appreciate the intensity of a client’s experience and see the merit of their concerns their emotions will not diminish so we might appreciate those concerns first.
Listening I listen out for any emotions that needs to be acknowledged. I listen out for wishes that have yet to be expressed but that are implicit in the things you say and finally I listen out for the strengths and resources you have to heal and grow into the person you want to become. You may need to tell me about your past but even in the first session there will be some focus on what might be a better future for you.
Here is Carl Rogers founder of the Person Centred Approach (my original training) talking about Listening (1.49)
Collaboration I don’t believe that one approach fits all. Some clients, for instance, prefer a formal or professional manner over a casual or warmer one. Some prefer to answer questions and others will want to have a audience for their story. I ask clients for on our relationship, the topics we are covering and the approach I am using. I invite them to tell me what works and will adapt what I do accordingly.