If you haven’t experienced counselling before, it’s likely you won’t know what to expect. This might lead to worry or confusion that might even put you off taking those first steps.
We want you to understand what might happen to make you feel a bit more relaxed about getting the support you need.
Before your appointment
The process actually begins before your first session.
To get your first appointment you can either call us on 0191 4661314 or fill in this form.
It's really important that you fill in as much as possible on the form so we've got a good idea of why you feel you need counselling. You don't need to go into great detail, just give us the key points.
Your first appointment which is your "initial assessment" will normally take place within a week. You will spend some time with an experienced counsellor who can find out more details about what you would like to get out of counselling. This allows us to make sure that we can provide the counselling you need.
It's important to realise that this first session is not counselling.
If you feel that ongoing counselling is right for you the counsellor will put you on the waiting list.
If you decide that you want counselling, your first session will be the start of the process.
Your counsellor at this session will be the one you see weekly. If it makes you feel comfortable, you can have a look online to see a photo of your counsellor and find out about them.
They will go through a contract with you. This sounds more formal than it is, but it explains some important points. You will have a copy of this contract.
- Your relationship with your counsellor, including boundaries
- What the sessions will look like in terms of length and location
- Your goals
- General admin, such as how to reschedule an appointment
- A chance to ask any questions you may have
All NECS counsellors are normal, approachable people who are there to help you explore your feelings through a mix of questions and conversations. But, if you meet your counsellor and you don't feel comfortable talking to them, you can ask to see someone else. After all, how you get on with your counsellor is really important.
Your counsellor will never tell you want to do but they can guide you in finding your own solutions. It's actually you who have the answers, we help you to find them.
Every counsellor works in different ways. They may try different ways to help you get your point across. They won't force you to answer questions.
Opening up and discussing some of the very intimate or frightening parts of your life takes bravery and can be very difficult to deal with. The counsellor will guide you through this, parking anything that needs to be addressed later and ensuring you're in a safe mindset to leave the session.
You may get upset, angry or frustrated as you explore your concerns – this is absolutely normal, and your counsellor knows it isn't directed towards them. You’ll learn more about this while discussing your therapeutic contract.
After your session
Counselling can be draining at times, and you may feel exhausted after your sessions. This is completely normal – you have given yourself a mental workout. Your counsellor may even recommend that you do not return to work following your appointment due to the emotional drain.
Counselling is a journey, a (recommended) weekly one. You may need to consider some of the things you have explored during your session before your next appointment, or practice some self-care. We always recommend that you follow the direction of your counsellor – they’re the one you have trusted to guide you on this journey.
Remind yourself that there is no quick fix, and therefore you may not feel immediate benefits from counselling. But make sure to remember your goals and the journey you’re on, recognising and celebrating each small step in the right direction.
We hope you've now got a better picture of what counselling looks like. If you’re ready to start your own journey, contact us to arrange your initial assessment. We are able to offer support to individuals throughout the UK via telephone and video call appointments.