Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen at the first session?
- I will provide a comfortable and confidential space
- I will take a few personal details and outline what is meant by confidentiality and then briefly explain the process of counselling
- You will be given opportunity to ask any questions
- The rest of the session can be used for you to outline the issues you would like to explore in counselling
- I consider the first session to be a mutual assessment. You have the opportunity to assess if I am the right counsellor for you and I also have the same opportunity
How long will I need counselling for?
This varies a great deal and there is no rule; you are in control and I offer both time limited and open ended counselling. It is suggested that clients think in terms of an initial six sessions though there is nothing to say that you cannot end sooner than that if you wish. Some people may want to take more time to explore underlying issues and look at any repeating patterns. During longer term counselling, we regularly review the process to ensure there is an understanding about the focus and benefit of the counselling.
Some people will feel that six sessions are enough – certainly in this time it is possible to gain insight into current difficulties and work out strategies for dealing with the situation. No pressure is brought to bear on the client, their decision will be respected.
Isn’t it just like chatting with a friend?
There are some similarities but there are significant differences which mean that counselling is a unique kind of relationship. Counsellors are trained in theories that give them an understanding of why people may relate and act towards themselves and others in particular ways that may be unhelpful. Counsellors are also trained in techniques which support clients in talking through thoughts and feelings to gain a fresh perspective on old problems. A counsellor listens attentively, treats us with respect, does not judge, does not demand attention and does not impose their own advice and opinions – this is very different from what we may be used to in other relationships.
Is counselling effective?
There is plenty of research evidence to show that counselling is effective in many different situations. Its benefits for people with depression are often equal to or better than anti-depressant medication. Many studies show a high level of satisfaction amongst clients. In addition, there is good evidence to suggest that counselling has an important preventative role in relation to mental illness: counselling has the capacity to reduce demand on psychiatric services by preventing less serious problems from becoming more serious, and by helping people to maintain good levels of mental health.