I always say that starting counselling is daunting. It’s a big deal. Whether you have never done it before or whether you have had counselling before – meeting someone new can be a really nerve wracking experience. Especially when it’s someone you may be sharing really personal information with.
When I first receive that message asking for help from someone, I am fully aware of the time and energy it may have taken them to get to that first message to me. And because of this, I like to try to make the process as easy as possible.
I offer a free 15 minute chat over the phone…
I will reply as soon as I possibly can, usually in between appointments in my working day. Part of my job is to take some time to make sure I can meet your needs for counselling. If you are looking for some help with an issue that I don’t have enough training or experience with, I will let you know that it wouldn’t be something I could help you with, but also encourage you to find other counsellors who could.
If it is something I might be able to help you with, I will usually invite you for a free 15 minute chat over the phone, in which we can talk a little more about what it is you’re looking for from counselling. It also gives you the opportunity to ask me any questions you might have about counselling or working with me. People have often said to me that they feel a little more relaxed about looking for counselling after this call, as they discover a little more about what they can expect.
Once we have had this chat over the phone, it’s up to you as to whether you would like to have an initial meeting session with me, or not. You may need a little time to think about what we’ve discussed on the phone, and this is fine too. There is no commitment to go ahead with counselling with me if it doesn’t feel right for you.
You can choose to have an “initial meeting session”…
If you feel you might want to go ahead with counselling, then we would have what I call an “initial meeting session”. This is the same time as a normal counselling session which is 50 minutes long. The initial meeting session is a little different than a normal counselling session, as there is more of a focus on us meeting each other and us talking a little more about what you would like from counselling. If needed there is time for me to answer any other questions you might have had since we spoke on the phone. It also gives us a chance to go through the counselling agreement that we would have together. This sets out the things that help to keep the counselling safe, like when we might meet, how we contact each other, and setting out how we keep sessions confidential and safe.
At this point there is no obligation to continue with the counselling or sign anything you don’t feel ready for. As we approach the end of the initial meeting session, I will check in with you, how you are feeling about working with me and we can talk a bit about how we might feel working together. Again, there is no obligation to continue if you don’t want to or don’t feel ready to, and you may want to take some time to think about things before you decide what you would like to do.
You can choose whether you would like to continue with counselling…
If you don’t want to continue working with me – that’s absolutely fine! It’s really important that you find a counsellor that you feel comfortable to work with.
If you do decide you would like to continue working with me, then that’s fine too! We would then talk about when we might book in another session together, and take it from there. It’s also really important that even if we started working together, you can leave the counselling relationship at any time. You might do a few sessions and then decide it’s not for you, and that’s ok. All I would ask is that you let me know you no longer want to continue, and then this allows us to try to end our work together safely, if possible.
I feel it’s incredibly important for us to begin work together in a safe way, but also in a way that allows you to know what you are getting in to. Because of this I will also encourage you to share with me any worries, queries or concerns you have along the way. It’s important that if at any point, counselling feels like it’s not for you, or it’s not the right time – then we can finish working together in the safest way possible.
If you would like to know more about counselling and psychotherapy with me, you can find my email and phone details here: https://leedsbradfordcounselling.com/contact/
Note on face to face/online working:
At the time of writing this, we are enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such all counselling is online only. During the 15 minute chat over the phone, we would discuss what methods of online working might feel accessible and appropriate for you. I offer work via video call, audio only call, instant message and email. I am fully qualified and experienced in online working, and it can be just as effective, in some cases more effective, than face to face work. There is also a waiting list for anyone that would like to go ahead with counselling but only face to face – and spaces will be offered as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.