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What happens in the first counselling session?
When you first come to counselling, you may feel a bit nervous or unsure. This is perfectly normal. The first session is all about getting to know each other. After a few practicalities (like filling in some paperwork and talking about fees and cancellation policies), I’ll ask you to tell me a little bit about yourself and what brings you to counselling. We will talk through your concerns and goals and I will let you know if I feel that I can be of help. You are also free to ask any questions you might have. One of the most important predictors of a successful outcome from counselling is a good relationship between the client and counsellor. So I encourage you to trust yourself about this. Do you feel comfortable with me? Did you feel that I understood your concerns? If so, chances are that the work we do will be meaningful and helpful.
What about subsequent sessions?
In between counselling sessions it’s important to be curious and thoughtful about the things you are learning about yourself. It’s helpful to come to each session with something that you have been curious about or would like to work on. This gives direction to our work together and help to keep it centred around your goals.
How long does a counselling session last?
Counselling sessions last for one hour.
How often should I come?
There is no one answer to this. Often at the start of a counselling journey, it’s helpful to come weekly. This is especially important if the matter that brings you to counselling is pressing and you are feeling very distressed or overwhelmed. Many clients find weekly sessions the most helpful. Some clients choose to come fortnightly and that can also be fine. Sometimes clients come weekly at first and then switch to fortnightly when they are feeling more settled. All options are open and we will just keep talking about what is right for you.
How many sessions will I need?
Some people come to counselling with a very specific issue and feel better after only a few sessions. Others need more time, especially if they are noticing that similar issues arise over and over again in different contexts and relationships. This may be related to experiences from the past that take longer to work through. This is the difference between counselling (shorter term) and what is known as therapy (also called psychotherapy). If you’d like to read more about the difference, click this link: http://www.pacfa.org.au/practitioner-resources/counselling-psychotherapy-definitions.
I am concerned about my relationship, but my partner is reluctant to come to counselling. What do you recommend?
For relationship issues it is preferable for a couple come to counselling together. It’s not uncommon, however, for one partner to be reluctant. If that is the case, it can still be helpful to come on your own.
Do I need a GP referral?
No, you do not need a GP referral.
What are the fees?
I offer a reasonable fee structure that is based on a sliding scale dependent on income. For more information, please be in touch via email.