What happens at the first session?
The thought of going to see a counsellor and talking about your difficulties can be scary – this is normal. The first session is an informal evaluation where we will gain an idea of your background and what is going on for you at the moment. It is a two-way process, so it’s also an opportunity for you to ‘get a sense’ of your counsellor and clarify any questions you may have.
What happens in subsequent sessions?
At times, counselling can be very demanding, frustrating, emotional and just plain difficult, so understandably there can be a real reluctance to attend. If after the first session you decide to continue, it is really important that you make a firm commitment to attending regularly and keep absences to a minimum as too many gaps will slow down the progress of what we are trying to achieve together.
At the Midlands Counselling Clinic we provide a safe and supportive place to explore your issues. You may know what you want to achieve from therapy, or you may be unclear. We can work on establishing some goals for you; we can look at your issues from different perspectives and explore the options open to you. We can look at your underlying thoughts and feelings and work through these so they are gradually ‘processed’ and understood as oppose to being bottled up. With our support, it can be a safe journey and the goals therefore more achievable than trying to face things on your own.
There are no guarantees, but if approached properly your therapy will be hard work for both of us – and the results will be worth it!
Will everything I say be kept confidential?
Everything you share with your counsellor in the course of your work together will be treated as confidential; however, there may be some circumstances where your counsellor may be legally or ethically required to talk to another professional. The main exceptions to confidentiality are:
• Supervision of your counsellor’s work (see question
below ‘What is Supervision?’)
• Where information given to your counsellor by you
indicates that minors (under 18) may currently be at risk.
• Where your counsellor considers your welfare or the welfare
of other adults to be seriously at risk
• When your counsellor has your permission to breach
confidentiality e.g. discussion with your doctor
• If a court has made a legal order (subpoena)
Wherever possible, your counsellor will always consult with you before breaching your confidentiality.
How many sessions will it take?
The only fair answer is that your counsellor will have a clearer idea after the first session when they know more about your background, your present situation and your experience of therapy. But in essence, it depends on three main factors:
• Your motivation and commitment
• How deep-rooted the issues are
• Your financial limitations
Will I have to reveal everything about myself?
No. Your therapy sessions are yours and you have a right to take things at a speed that you are comfortable with. That said, obviously withholding details that could otherwise be helpful to your therapy can slow progress. Trust is an important part of the relationship between clients and counsellors and as trust builds up between you and your counsellor, you are likely to reveal more about yourself and as a result – discover more.
What is Supervision?
Supervision in the counselling world is also known as consultative support and is a mandatory and confidential process. In accordance with the ethical framework of their accrediting body, your counsellor is required to undertake regular supervision. Supervision allows counsellors to discuss their client work (without revealing your identity) with someone else who is experienced in counselling. Supervision is designed to maintain adequate standards of counselling to protect and ensure the best interests of our clients.
How often are appointments and is therapy expensive?
Sessions will be for 55 minutes every week/fortnight (unless otherwise agreed). Wherever possible, your appointment will be at the same time each week. However, if you need to change time and frequency we will try to accommodate you. Together we will review your progress and identify any needs for further sessions.
Fees per session are:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) €60.00 – €70.00
How will we know if counselling is working?
At the Midlands Counselling Clinic we are committed to providing counselling that adheres to the highest standards of professional quality and service. Part of that commitment is helping you to achieve the outcomes you want from therapy. For this reason, it is very important that you are involved in monitoring your progress. We do this formally by using a short paper and pencil measure called the ‘Outcome Rating Scale’ which takes less than a minute to complete. We invite you to fill it out at the beginning of each session and then we can talk about the results.
Before we end each session, we invite you to fill out a similar form – the ‘Session Rating Scale’. Research shows that your experience of our session is a good predictor of whether we’re successful.
If you feel under pressure completing these forms, please talk to us about this, rather than leave the session feeling uncomfortable.
What information do you keep about me?
We will ask for your GP details, and note if you are on any medication. The reason for this, is that it may (on rare occasions) be necessary to contact them; however such circumstances rarely happen and will only be done in your best interest. You will be asked to complete a ‘Client Agreement Form’ at the commencement of our first session.
How do I know I’m in ‘safe’ hands?
As professionally accredited counsellors, Brian and the team at Midlands Counselling Clinic subscribe to the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) code of ethics for counsellors and psychotherapists and we are subject to their complaints procedure. The purpose of this code is to establish and maintain standards for counsellors who are accredited members, and to inform and protect people and organisations that engage in his counselling and psychotherapy services.
Are there any practical things I need to know about?
Yes. Out of respect for the previous and next clients privacy, all sessions start and end on time (please DO NOT arrive early). If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment you must give 24 hours’ notice before the time of the appointment. Less than 24 hours’ notice incurs a full fee which will require payment at your next scheduled session.Apart from exceptional circumstances, if you miss two consecutive appointments the contract will terminate and your slot will be re-allocated. If your counsellor has to cancel at short notice, every effort will be made to contact you as soon as possible.
You are encouraged to express feelings freely but violence will not be condoned in any form. Sessions will not proceed if you present under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances. This is because you are wasting time and money if you attend a session out of touch with your ‘true self’.
What happens if I don’t like my counsellor or I don’t feel it is helping?
If you don’t feel comfortable with your counsellor when you first meet them, please talk to him/her about it and we will help you find another therapist.
If you have had several sessions, please raise your discomfort with your counsellor as this may need to be addressed as part of the therapy. If you feel that therapy is not making a difference, discuss this with your counsellor to try to find a way forward. If you cannot come to a resolution, you may wish to go to another therapist.Always remember, it is ALWAYS alright to question
what your counsellor says or does in therapy.