Thinking about what might actually happen in the first session is probably one of the most daunting things about booking your first counselling appointment. What will the therapist ask me? Will they tell me what to do? Will I have to reveal my deepest secrets to a complete stranger? What if they don't 'get' me? What if I don't get them?? Is 50 minutes enough time? What will I talk about for 50 minutes?
A good, person-centred therapist won't give you advice or tell you what to do. What they might do is give you the space to think without judgement and the time to process whatever's going on for you. They should do their best to understand what it's like for you, to be on your side, and to offer hope. A good therapist can help you to process your thoughts, to understand your choices, to find your voice and to think about hard decisions.
The truth is, there's no 'one size fits all' approach. Every therapy session will be different, depending on a range of factors, including the therapist that you choose, their approach, what you're seeing the counsellor about, and how long you've been working together. Some counsellors might be specialists in anxiety or depression, addiction, relationships, bereavement or family issues. Others, like me, take a more flexible approach, dealing with what each client brings individually - and often there's crossover between issues!
For these reasons, it's difficult to show you exactly what a session with me might look like, so I've shared some videos from some of my favourite therapists, which I hope will offer you some insight into what it might be like to work with a therapist and how the sessions might unfold.
Alex Howard is Founder and CEO of The Optimum Health and Conscious Life, and the creator of Therapeutic Coaching and the Fatigue Super Conference. He has a series of therapy sessions which you can watch on his YouTube channel, as well as a series of recovery stories and guided meditations.
Mick Cooper is an internationally recognised authority in the field of counselling and psychotherapy and a chartered psychologist. Mick is author of a range of texts on humanistic, existential and relational approaches to therapy, and co-developed the pluralistic approach to therapy. He is Director for the Centre for Social and psychological transformation at the University of Roehampton.
I hope that you find this helpful. As always, if you have any questions or to make an appointment, please feel free to send me an email or you can call, text or whatsapp me any time. e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: 07379 278139