It may be difficult to know what to expect either if you are new to counselling or starting with a different therapist you haven't worked with before. I believe it is a space where you can decide what to bring and set your own boundaries of what you do and don't want to work on, I realise it can be anxiety provoking to think of talking to someone for the first time and I won't force you to talk about anything you aren't ready to explore.
The concept of therapy may be a new one to you, we are all familiar with thinking things out in our heads but I will provide a safe relationship and space where you can express your thoughts/ emotions to someone who won't judge. I will share your exploration into gaining a greater understanding of how things are for you and other options/ strategies you may want to try out.
I believe the relationship we form together is the foundation for your therapeutic journey. Often we can use this as a basis to understand how you feel and respond in other relationships in your day to day life as we all develop different ways of being and coping with others. We can use our relationship as a safe place to try our different ways of responding and being. I will also offer you the opportunity to explore how you relate to yourself as many of us can be very self critical and experiencing empathy and care within the therapeutic relationship can help in developing greater self compassion and freedom.
Initial safety and resources
Sometime the work will involve aspects which are difficult for you and may bring up unexpected emotions. I will allow you to direct the pace at which we work we will work together to help you develop strategies to make you feel safe. This may involve:
- Building our initial relationship by providing a non judgemental, empathic space for reflection without feeling a need to please others before we look at deeper issues.
- Sharing information to increase understanding of how we respond to different situations, for example how we/ our bodies are designed to cope with trauma, anxiety or maintaining relationships, explore what this means for you and how to develop new coping strategies.
- Identifying and supporting self care and relaxation activities.
Exploring and making sense of whatever aspects you want to focus on
In some cases this may involve talking about things that you are finding difficult are making sense of whats going on, links to past experience and considering different perspectives and options. However it can sometimes be helpful to work in different ways using other means of expression eg drawing, metaphors or exploration of sensations and emotions to develop a greater understanding of yourself and trust in your own intuition.
Our first session is an opportunity for us to start to get to know each other and for you to ask any questions you may have. I also take some time in this session to explore how things are for you right now, what you would like to work on and whether we feel we can work with each other.
Its not always clear at the beginning what the work will be; the process may involve a specific number of planned sessions, but more commonly is a fluid process where we may cover multiple topics going backwards and forwards in order for things to link up and make sense. Hence I maintain an ongoing flexible approach to discussing how many sessions are required and frequency of sessions - usually weekly but also fortnightly available. As we work together there will be opportunities to continually review how things are going both in terms of the work and our relationship