How To Get The Most Out Of Your First Counselling Session
Even when sometimes you are offered a FREE counselling session for the first visit, it’s actually NOT FREE to you as you still have to invest your time and energy into this session. Therefore, I’d like to give some ideas and suggestions for you to get the most out of your first counselling session.
- Be prepared. Ask yourself the question, “Why am I seeking the counselling?”
Take time before your initial visit to consider why you would like to meet a counsellor. What are your expectations for this session? This will help you focus on a particular issue in advance, rather than having to take most of the session to pinpoint that issue, and then running out of time to explore it more.
- Be open and honest about your feelings.
It’s understandable that a lot will be going in your head especially for the first session. Don’t worry. If there’s something you want to say, say it. Or if you feel that you’re avoiding a particular issue, just share what you are feeling. If you feel embarrassed or something is too painful to talk about, don’t be afraid to share your feelings about what’s on your mind, it can be really helpful to look at what you’re trying to avoid. As this may be the key factor to solving the deeper issue.
- Ask questions.
Don’t just sit there. Be an active participant. Counselling is a team effort. If you don’t take an active part, you won’t find the counselling experience valuable. The more you understand the counselling experience or how counselling works, the more comfortable you’ll be. Feel free to ask questions about the therapy process, and ask your counsellor to repeat anything you don’t understand. Feel free to give your ideas on how you would like to get help and support within your time schedule and financial budget so that he/she could come up with a tailored counselling package that suits you best.
- Be realistic with your expectations and be patient with yourself and with the process.
Counselling is not a quick fix solution, it is more of a process; a process through which you can come to a greater understanding of yourself and your relationships with others. For the initial session you’ll probably be asked a few questions about your personal history and current situation so that the counsellor can get a clear picture of what you would like to explore in counselling, and to get an understanding of how you’re being affected by these issues. The following sessions are more flexible and you may find that you stray from the original topic, maybe even coming back at the end to where you first started, but possibly then seeing it in a different way. The first few sessions are really about building up the counselling relationship, so that you feel safe to begin exploring the deeper issues. A counsellor is not there to give you quick-fix advice but help you identify steps you would like to take towards working through, and resolving your problems. Only you can make the changes you need to move forward. Remember, growth takes time, effort, and patience.