How do I go about getting in touch with a counsellor?
I have had quite a lot of new enquiries this week: some have gone smoothly, some have gone… less so. It made me think about how I could make this easier on new clients?
Recognising that we’re in trouble can be a tough place to be, searching for support and reaching out can seem way too scary and hard work: I mean, where do you start?
First things first – Are you ok to go and see your GP? They can refer you to relevant Mental Health Support Services.
If you don’t feel able to go to your GP, please check your options at your place of work, many companies have excellent Mental Health Support available to employees. Check out your options, and the confidentiality of such services i.e. will there be reports written for your employer?
If neither of these options is open to you, then have a search online for relevant charities out there. Mind can often signpost you to specific support services that might be of help to you.
If you would rather (for many reasons) seek Mental Health Support privately then there are many many counsellors and therapists out there all waiting to help. It’s worth a look at the BACP and Counselling Directory.
At this point is where you (hopefully!) come in to contact with me. So you may be wondering: “how do I go about making first contact with you?” There is lots of information on my website and in my blogs, and I try to be myself there so that clients can get a feel for who I am from the very first glance online.
I am hyper-aware that clients are often very unsure, nervous and sometimes even resentful or defensive. Most of us don’t really want to be where we are and we don’t want to be making that enquiry, we’d rather that our lives hadn’t led us to this point. It is at this point that I need to be my most professional, careful and caring. I need to look after your best interests, even if at first (from your point of view) it may not seem like I am.
Clients choose the form of initial contact that they themselves are most comfortable with: be it email, text, phone, or letter. I will do my very best to be warm, welcoming, yet professional and protect your confidentiality.
Before your first session, I may seem reluctant to enter into too much of a discussion about what you it is you are wishing to discuss. This is because we have not yet met, and there is no Counselling Agreement in place to protect you and your confidentiality. Clients who are seeking Counselling can be very nervous and not quite themselves when they first make contact, they may say things that they later wish they hadn’t. Its my role to allow you to enter in a safe professional space where you are able to talk freely once I have explained how this counselling malarkey works and then you can make informed decisions about what you then share or don’t share with me: I hope that makes sense!
So I am not able to enter into a lengthy email exchange, I will limit initial telephone conversations to about 15 -20 minutes, and I will monitor how many texts are exchanged. As I have sat in both chairs in a counselling room, having had my own therapy, I am aware how important that initial contact is, and in my professional role I get nervous too.
From the start, from the very first “Hello!” it is my role to keep you safe: I have to put in safe boundaries and ensure that when you enter into a Counselling Relationship with me you are fully informed and able to understand and give informed consent. So I hope you can see that I’m not reluctant, in fact I am quite the opposite: I am already invested and very carefully putting you and your confidentiality first!
I hope that helps? Any questions please do get in touch.