You may be nervous, worried or even a little fearful about your first counseling session, but in taking what will be the first step towards helping yourself to feel better, you have absolutely nothing to fear. Your counselor will quickly make you feel welcome, at ease and most importantly, safe.
The space in which you’ll have your first conversation (and if it makes you feel better, that’s all it really is) will be entirely private, entirely safe and hopefully, entirely comfortable, although the choice of chair may be a matter of preference! You will be safe to talk to your counselor about every issue that may be affecting you, and to discuss what you hope to achieve from your sessions.
All counselors are individuals, just as we are, and so the techniques and styles of each may offer, varying a little depending upon the specific needs of their clients, but they’ll essentially be play the same role:
The role of your counselor is to listen carefully to you, and tailor make a therapeutic plan to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
During your initial conversation you will typically discuss the reasons why you are seeking help, and what you hope to gain from your sessions. When you both know more about each other, your counselor may suggest a specific type of therapy that they believe will work best for you.
However, you may already have a type of therapy in mind based upon research or the recommendation of others, and your counselor will of course listen to your views and guide you through them to ensure that you can make an educated and informed decision.
It’s important that you take the time to listen carefully to your inner thoughts and feelings, and convey these openly to your counselor so that they get a complete picture of the issues you’re facing and how you want to address them.
It’s also important to understand that even if you don’t know what you specifically want to achieve from your counseling sessions, or what type of therapy you want, you can still benefit hugely from them, and as your sessions progress, you will hopefully begin to get a better understanding of your feelings and how they have been affecting your life up to this point.
Your counselor will help you to recognize any unhealthy thought processes or patterns of behavior that you may unwittingly (or knowingly) be experiencing, and with their training and experience, they are well placed to help you learn how to change for good.
Some of the most popular forms of therapy include:
CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), DBT (dialectic behaviour therapy), MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) and IPT (interpersonal therapy).
Some individuals prefer to face their counselor in a room as they talk, while others may choose to talk via a video call. Under the current climate, face-to-face sessions may not be possible anyway, but many mental health professionals are continuing to offer their services remotely via telehealth, so if you need to talk to someone about anything that may be troubling you during the pandemic, there will always be someone there for you.
Talking has always been, and doubtless always will be, one of the best forms of therapy, and even if you feel uncomfortable talking about your problems or have never done so before, a qualified, trained and professional counselor will help guide you through the process.
Emotional support—only a phone call away!
Scared. Frustrated. Anxious. Pi**ed off. These are common feelings right now. Take a listen to this podcast which includes Heart-Centered Counseling’s founder Carl Nassar talk about reaching out to experts who will listen and help you cope with all the emotions you’re experiencing.
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