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What do you want from counselling?

Finding a counsellor can be a daunting experience. Even if you've been to counselling before, it can be hard to know who to go to and what questions to ask. I've put together a check list of questions you might like to think about before booking an initial appointment. They're designed to help you dig into what you want from your therapy and your therapist.

  1. Do you have a strong preference for a therapist of a particular gender, race/ethnicity. sexual orientation, religion or other personal characteristic?

  2. Do you need or want your therapist to speak a specific language?

  3. Are you looking for a particular orientation of therapy, such as psychodynamic, CBT, person-centred or something else?

  4. Do you want the therapy to be open-ended or do you want to come for a specific number of sessions?

  5. How long do you want each session to last?

  6. How often do you want to meet with your therapist? Weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or as and when you need it?

  7. Do you want to have your sessions online or face-to-face? Or perhaps you would like outdoor or walking therapy.

When it comes to the therapy itself you might like to consider the following preferences:

  1. Do you want your counsellor to take the lead, to give structure to the therapy and focus on specific goals? Or would you rather choose what to talk about and have a more unstructured, open space? Perhaps something in between?

  2. Would you like your counselling to focus mainly on thoughts or feelings, or a mix of the two? Would you like to be encouraged to go into and express difficult emotions?

  3. Do you want the therapy to be focussed on your life in the past, and your childhood or to be more focussed on your life in the present and your future? Perhaps you would like a mix of those things?

  4. Are you looking for a therapist who will challenge and confront you and who might interrupt you to keep you focussed? Or would you prefer a gentle, unconditionally supportive therapist? Again, perhaps you might like a combination of these ways of working?

These are the kinds of things we might discuss in an introductory appointment to help us work out whether we are a good fit for working together. I can adapt my way of working, to a certain extent, to suit each individual. And if I feel that you are looking to work in a way that is outside of what I can offer, I will do my best to point you in the direction of someone who may be a better fit.


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