C. S. Lewis
I will always start with an initial assessment to help us both to decide if we will work well together.
After that, the number of sessions, their length and their frequency is the client’s decision.
The initial session is first for us to get to know each other and see if we interact in such a way that we both believe a professional therapeutic relationship is likely. The vast majority of the time that is the case.
In the initial session, I will use a simple intake form. It helps to identify and record what the client’s hopes and needs are for the sessions. These provide the basis for the work to be done.If either the client or myself do not wish to continue any further, that is ok and there will be no further bookings.
For the most part, each session is a therapeutic professional conversation where the client and myself work together on his or her presenting issues. In each session, the client mostly guides the topics discussed and I provide my thoughts on what the client says. For the initial stages of the work I primarily listen as the client offloads their story and formulates where they may want to go with it and how that may be possible. My input is based on these pre-stated counselling needs and my professional knowledge and experience of what may help them. Each session is between 50 and 60 minutes long.
Between each session the client will consider the issues discussed and attempt to apply any changes to their thoughts, behaviours and feelings. Occasionally the client may have written work, such as mood, thought or behaviour diaries, to do between sessions. Such work is then reviewed in the next session. Even if no work is done exploring why is part of the counselling process aswell.
It is recommended to do up to six sessions but there is no definite rule on that. Counselling therapy may go on for a longer period of time as well. It is standard practice in counselling to review every 6 weeks or so how the work is going for both the client and myself. Such ongoing reviews help to keep a good focus and ensure client needs are met.
It is essential that clients feel safe in a counselling therapy room. Part of maintaining this safety is to keep client information confidential. All client files are kept in a locked filing cabinet. The notes I make about each session have a client code on them instead of names. The only person I discuss my client work with is my supervisor, and again no names are used.
If you require a report from me on your counselling work, I will provide a simple statement. It will say when you started and how many sessions you have had. If you are still attending, it will state that; if not, it will state when you finished. If more information than that is required, I will discuss that with my supervisor.