What happens at my first appointment?

margi-matters-counselling

Sometimes people can feel apprehensive or uncertain about their first appointment with a psychologist.  This is very normal and natural.  This article aims to put your mind at ease by outlining what you can expect when you make an appointment and come to your first session.

When you make your appointment I will send you a letter, or email or mobile phone text as you prefer, confirming your appointment, payment methods and my practice location. This will be kept confidential.

If you have a referral from a Doctor or other source you bring this with you to the first session.

Consultations are for one hour and are conducted in my comfortable, spacious, quiet and discreetly private consulting room.

We begin the first session taking some basic background information such as your name, date of birth and contact details. You will be invited to ask any questions you may have and I will give you information about confidentiality, record keeping and the basic counselling process.

The first session aims to gain a thorough understanding of your difficulties or reasons for seeking counselling as well as helping you to clarify the outcomes you would like to achieve.

You can expect to be truly listened to and understood, and to feel warmly accepted without judgement or pressure.

In a natural conversational way, we explore how the problem or difficulties arose or developed and how you may have dealt with or coped with these previously. This discussion usually includes talking about what you think, how you feel and any relevant behaviours, patterns or habits. We also talk about other relevant aspects of your personal history that may be important, for example certain family or educational experiences may be relevant in understanding “the problem” and solutions.

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Together we develop a flexible treatment plan so you will know what to expect in future sessions. The number of sessions can range from one or two sessions to several sessions depending on the nature of the problem and how well resourced you already are. You have the right to attend however many sessions you choose without obligation, although Medicare and health fund rebates only apply to a limited number of sessions in a one year period.

People tend to leave the first session with a great sense of relief. Many people say they wished they had taken this step long before.

You can expect to have a much clearer understanding of your difficulties and a positive anticipation about what is possible in our work together.

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