What Happens in the First Counselling Session?
For most people, the first counselling session can be anxiety-producing. Many questions go through your mind, and it isn't easy to relax when so many unknowns exist. No matter what the background of the counsellor or the venue of counselling, most first counselling sessions follow a four-step process.
The Four-Step Process of Your First Counselling Session
1. Paperwork - The counsellor will review your paperwork and ask if you have any questions about confidentiality, data protection and cancellation policies. You will discuss the client agreement form, and you can ask any questions about counselling or your counsellor.
2. Listening - The counsellor will then ask to hear more about what has led you to come into counselling. You can discuss as little or as much as you want.
3. Insight - While sharing your story, the counsellor may stop you from time to time to summarise what you've said, ask clarifying questions or give an empathetic insight.
4. Reflection - At the end of the first session, the counsellor will ask what the session was like for you. This change helps you debrief your thoughts and discuss what will happen in the second session.
The first session's goal is to build trust between you and the counsellor. For some clients, this four-step process may be a lot to handle. Others may want to speed up the healing process to include more in the first session. Wherever you are on this continuum, it takes a lot of courage to start this process.
The preparation for the first counselling session can be stressful, you might want to read "How Should I Prepare for the First Counselling Session?"