Your First Counselling or Psychotherapy Session

So, you’ve plucked up courage to make the call and book an appointment to see a Counsellor or Psychotherapist. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious about your first visit, particularly if you have never seen a counsellor or psychotherapist before. After all, you are about to share some deep feelings with a stranger.

You might feel more comfortable if you take some time before your visit to think about what is troubling you and why you have decided to seek help.

Your therapist will probably start by introducing themselves and asking you a few questions, such as your name, address, and the name of your medical practitioner. They may also ask if you have any current medical issues, and if you have seen a counsellor or psychotherapist previously,

Following this, your Counsellor/Psychotherapist will explain the counselling process to you. They will probably ask you to sign a Therapy Agreement. This outlines details about confidentiality, fees and cancellations. You will be given a copy, and the therapist will keep one on file.

You will be gently invited to share your concerns. Your Counsellor/Psychotherapist may start the conversation by asking “what brings you here?” 

What Happens in a Session?

Initially, you will take time to get to know each other, and develop a  rapport, then you will be gently guided to talk about what is troubling you. The session is yours, and there is no rush to achieve anything. The therapeutic process is a matter between both you and your therapist.

Over time, as this rapport develops, you will probably feel increasingly comfortable to go more deeply into your experiences. Some situations can be difficult to express in words, and you may enjoy using other forms of expression, such as movement, sound, role play, or perhaps drawing.

There is nothing you can’t talk about in therapy. if you feel anxious about this, you can talk to your counsellor about your anxiety. No problem is too big or too small.

Your counsellor’s role is to support you and your process, offering a non-judgemental space of safety and trust. This is a place where you can feel free to fully express yourself. They will not offer to “fix” things for you, but will help you to find your own solutions.

Concluding Your Session

When you have about 10 minutes left, your counsellor/psychotherapist will start to “wind up” the session, and offer to review what you have covered. You may be asked for feedback, such as how you felt about the session, and if there is anything else you would like to discuss before you leave. If you are not feeling comfortable, your counsellor would like to know this.

To conclude the session, you will probably be invited to make another appointment. Your counsellor/psychotherapist may suggest  more sessions if he/she feels there is more to work on, but the final decision is up to you.

Generally, you could expect to have 3 to 5 sessions initially, but you may need more to fully unfold a situation. You should be starting to feel better after this, but there are no “quick fixes” in therapy.

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and many people find that addressing emotional issues can help with physical complaints.

Reaching Out

If you feel I might be able to help you, or you would like to learn more, please give me a call on 0474 095 432 for a free 15 minute chat.

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Years of Experience

Rosalind is a PACFA accredited Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist and long-term resident of Moruya, on the south coast of New South Wales. An empathic and compassionate listener she will respect your need for safety, trust and confidentiality in the therapeutic relationship.

Rosalind brings to therapy the depth of understanding that comes from lived experience.