Your First Appointment
When you call or write to make an appointment, you may choose to describe briefly the concern that makes you seek counselling. This could help preliminarily determine if your problem lies within my area of expertise. If so, an exact time for an appointment will be agreed. You may prefer to wait until a face-to-face meeting to discuss the concerns that bring you to counselling.
In the first session you will probably do most of the talking, with me asking for information and clarifications to get a sense of your personal circumstances and of what concerns you most.
You may feel a bit nervous, as it may be hard to talk to someone you don't know about personal matters. Unfortunately, embarrassment and fear often keep people from seeking the help they may need. I'll try do my best to make you feel as comfortable and safe as possible. Once the initial tension fades, you may discover that talking to a "stranger" is, in fact, easier:
- I am not directly involved in your life, and have no need to take sides; therefore I can approach your concerns more objectively.
- Therapists/ counsellors are under a professional obligation to keep all information, including the fact that you are/were attending therapy, confidential (see my confidentiality policy in FAQ section of this website).
- I will listen attentively to everything you say, no matter how small or unimportant the matters may seem to others.
- I have the education, training, and experience necessary to provide you with a professionally informed perspective into your suffering. The therapeutic relationship is built on empathy and respect toward every client as an individual.
You may be concerned that you may have difficulty clearly formulating what it is that worries you. This is very often the case. In fact, people often turn to counselling precisely in order to define what their problem is. If you are under stress, depressed, or anxious, thinking clearly and rationally about the causes of your suffering may be difficult. But defining the problem is usually the beginning of the solution.
Sometimes people come to therapy because others tell them that they have a problem, but they aren't sure what they mean. If you have difficulties clearly explaining what it is that bothers you, I would ask you questions and together we should be able to develop a better understanding of the roots of your concern.
At the end of the first session you may choose to schedule your next appointment or you may take time and think it over at home. If you decide to continue, you can always schedule your next appointment by e-mail or by phone.