What to expect in your first counseling session
So you have scheduled an appointment for your first consultation session, well done! You have taken an important step towards bringing about positive change in your life. Even though this session is free of charge and any commitment for you, you may still feel a bit excited/nervous – that is totally normal (in the everydays, we are not used to talking about our challenges with strangers). So here's a few points on what to expect from this session.
As I mentioned already elsewhere, I think great first meetings do take time, and I'd love for us to really get to know each other well. So it's worth allowing 60-75 mins for this first appointment. The meeting location is quite easy to find next to Mehringdamm (and I will provide you with tips on how to get there) so your journey into the counseling room is hopefully going to be smooth. And then, as soon as you're holding onto a nice cup of tea, we're ready to start talking!
This first counseling appointment does not require any preparation from you. I will encourage you to talk about the challenge / the issue / the wish for change that brought you to me, and if it is easy for you to talk, then I will just listen – or if you're not sure about how to talk about it, I will help you with questions. How much and how deeply you would like to talk about yourself is entirely up to you and you will feel no pressure to talk about things that you are not comfortable talking about. I have read somewhere something like "be open and honest about your feelings in your first session" – I think for many people that is understandably very challenging and nobody should be pressured into talking about feelings at a first meeting with an unknown person! The trust that is needed to open up to another person is something that is usually earned, and it takes time to build.
→ Still not sure if counseling would be beneficial for you? You may some of the points listed in this article useful.
After we have talked about your topic, I will talk a bit about myself, my approach and mostly about how I suggest working together. I will give a summary of how I understand the topic based on what you said – to make sure I have understood well – and then I will also give a recommendation for how we could work together. Here I will talk about potential methods, give a suggestion for how often we should meet, etc. And then we can talk about your thoughts on all these. Finally, I will take you through a general framework of our work (such as confidentiality, cancellation terms, etc.) and you will also receive a printed copy of that so you can always refer to it if any question comes up. And if everything sounds good, we are ready to set up a next appointment when the work can start. And if you are not sure that you would like to get started with the suggested process, that is also fine, there is absolutely no pressure and of course this session was free for you, so no risk involved.
The whole session will feel like a breeze and as we conclude the meeting, you won't believe an hour has already passed... you will remember other things you forgot to mention – and that's fine, we will have a chance to go into more details soon. All I can promise is: you will feel lighter as you walk out of the room.
In short: the first counseling appointment is really only about you and your counselor getting to know each other, and discussing whether you can work together in the future with regards to the topic in question. There won't be couches to lie on, nor scary techniques to work with. You can rest assured: all will be fine.
I look forward to seeing you soon, and getting to know you better! If you have questions, you can always reach me on any of my contacts here.