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FAQs about starting therapy

Anchor 1

What will the first session be like?

The first session is a chance for us to start getting to know each other and thinking about what you want to get from counselling. I am keen to take it at your pace: you don't have to tell me anything that you don't feel comfortable with. I know how difficult it can be to talk to someone you've never met before. Thinking about what brings you to counselling now is always a good start and you might want to ask me some questions too (there are some ideas about what you might ask here).

What will we talk about?

The short answer is "whatever you want"! The longer answer is that I often find helpful to be flexible and go with whatever comes up for you in the session, but some clients like to keep a journal during the week or make lists and then discuss them when we meet. Sometimes I will ask questions or guide you towards spending a little more time on something, but generally the content is very much decided by you. As well as talking, sometimes clients like to learn about relaxation and other ways to cope with things like anxiety or urges to self harm, for example. At other times, you might feel like you need to sit in silence. All of these things are OK - this is your space.

What if I don't like it? 

I will never pressure you into continuing therapy if you don't want to. It is really important that this is your decision. I am open to discussing any concerns you have about our work together. Maybe sometimes you'll need to tell me that something I said just didn't feel good, and I welcome us having those discussions too.

How many sessions will I need?

This varies widely. Some clients feel that 5 or 6 sessions is enough for what they wanted, whilst others prefer to come to therapy over a number of years. To give our work the chance to have a positive impact, I always suggest that we work together for six sessions on a regular basis and then review how things are going. I recognise that the emotional, physical and financial commitment of weekly therapy is significant and we will work together to find something that suits your situation.

Will my parents have to know what we talk about?

Generally, the answer to this is no. It is a very valid question to ask, and the answer to it could understandably have a big impact on what you feel comfortable talking about in our sessions. I maintain confidentiality wherever possible. In terms of your parents, I would normally need to tell them if I felt that you were in immediate danger. During the first session we could discuss this more fully so please flag it up with me if it is concerning you.

I know you use some yoga in your work - do I need to do this? 

I believe that connecting with your body is essential to mental health. Having said that, not everyone wants or needs to engage with that in therapy, and that's OK. As with all elements of your therapy, you have the final say in what your sessions look and feel like. If you're looking for someone to sit with and talk to, that's perfectly possible too.

I welcome new clients aged 14+. Having a non-judgemental adult, separate from family, school and friends, to work with on whatever issues you are facing at the moment can be very helpful.

Many young people seek support from their G.P. initially when facing mental health challenges, and often a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is made. I am happy to work with you at whatever stage you are at in this process: whether you prefer not to go to your G.P. at all, you are on a waiting list for CAMHS, or you are being seen by CAMHS and would like me to work in conjunction with their support.

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