Going for counselling can be a big deal for most people. They contemplate who to see and whether asking for help will really make a difference. I understand that every individual comes to me with distinct needs and preferences.
Let me demystify the process when you come to visit me because most of my clients want me to focus on specific goals and give structure to the counselling. They express a particular preference for me to teach them skills to deal with their problems in future.
We use an online appointment booking system to ensure that clients can book their appointments whenever is convenient for them. This system assists with client confidentiality and secures payment options. When the appointment booking is completed, the client receives the agreement form for the first session.
I require an agreement form from every client before the first sessions start. This enables me to prepare for our meeting and no meeting time goes wasted with filling in forms. During the first part of the session, we spent time clarifying the client’s needs and expectations. I confirm my commitment to offering the best possible service within my scope of practice according to my competencies.
Therapeutic expectations and goals influence the approach and methods we will utilize. It is important to embark on this counselling journey together with the same end goal in mind. Every journey consists of unique, nuanced expectations and interactions that will evolve throughout the counselling.
Most clients have preferences about most aspects of the counselling process. These preferences include the frequency of sessions, the format (e.g. in-person or online), and preferred topics to start with (e.g. traumatic events, early childhood, workplace challenges, etc.). Clients can have preferences as far as methods and techniques, such as focusing on emotions, spiritual guidance, solutions-focused coaching or the road forward. When we discuss preferences, my task is to keep ethical considerations such as the client’s rights and responsibilities in mind, as well as to honour cultural differences.
My clients always have the opportunity to share their expectations and preferences. Some clients don’t have strong preferences as long as they feel better and make progress after each meeting. Some clients don’t have the words to express what they need. They need space to explore and learn skills to tolerate their feelings, anxieties and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. I work in collaboration with my clients. Together we work on the principle of shared decision-making and planning the way forward together.
The client’s preferences and needs will also change during our interactions. As the growth process continues and healing takes place we will have more open discussion, talk about new topics, pose fresh suggestions and adapt the way forward according to the client’s needs.
May we share a deeply affirming and empowering therapeutic relationship.