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What can I expect from counselling and my therapist?

Many clients often feeling quite anxious at the idea of sharing their personal concerns with a complete stranger, because they don't always believe that anything can come from just sharing their story with someone else.

To reduce any worries you may have about seeing a therapist or a counsellor, please read below what my commitments are to you following the ethical guidelines of the BACP and feel free to get in touch if you have nay more questions.

Seeing a couples counsellor....

There is often a ubiquitous feeling that counselling is something you should be ashamed of and if you are seeing a counsellor, it automatically means your relationship is near the end.  This is not always the case but the biggest and most difficult step any individual or couple can make is organising that first appointment.

The unknowingness of counselling and the fear of judgement walking into a therapy space will stop some people in their tracks, so I would like to shed some light on what you might expect in your first appointment with me, and hopefully this might help to make it seem less overwhelming.

Who can come?

Counselling is for everyone. I work with individuals and couples, young and older couples as well as LGBTQIU couples and individuals.

You can come on your own and if during the process, you have a partner that you would like to include, this can be organised also.  I work with anyone who has a concern about a relationship they are currently in, they were previously in or perhaps they want support with something couple related to themselves.

How long does counselling last ?

Counselling can sometimes be few months or a few weeks, it all depends on your concern and your budget. 


What to expect from your first counselling session?

In our first session, I will introduce myself and explain that today is an opportunity for me to make some notes about your family and medical history as well as notes around what brought you here today.  This helps me to understand a little more about your needs and the type of therapeutic methodology that would be a good fit.

Sometimes if I am not able to provide you with the type of counselling you require, I may be able to refer you onto another Therapy service provider.


My personal commitment to my clients


Clients are encouraged to be able to participate freely as they work with me in all sessions towards achieveing their desired goals. This requires clients to be able to trust me with their wellbeing and sensitive personal information. Therefore, as a member of the BACP, I take being trustworthy as a serious ethical commitment. I therefore agree to:

  1. Put clients first by:

a.    make clients my primary concern while we are working together

b.    providing an appropriate standard of service to any client.


  1. Work to professional standards by:

a.  working within my competence

b.  keeping my skills and knowledge up to date

c.   collaborating with colleagues to improve the quality of what is being offered to clients

d.  ensuring that my wellbeing is sufficient to sustain the quality of the work

e.  keeping accurate and appropriate records.


  1. Show respect by:

a.    valuing each client as a unique person

b.    protecting client confidentiality and privacy

c.     agreeing with clients on how we will work together

d.    working in partnership with clients.


  1. Build an appropriate relationship with clients by:

a.    communicating clearly what clients have a right to expect from me

c.     communicating any benefits, costs and commitments that clients may reasonably expect

d.    respecting the boundaries between my work with clients and what lies outside that work

e.    not exploiting or abusing clients

f.      listening out for how clients experience our working together.


  1. Maintain integrity by:

a.    being honest about the work

b.    communicating my qualifications, experience and working methods accurately

c.     working ethically and with careful consideration of how I fulfil my legal and ethical obligations.


  1. Demonstrate accountability and candour by:

a.    being willing to discuss with clients openly and honestly any known risks involved in the work and how best to work towards the clients’ desired outcomes by communicating any benefits, costs and commitments that clients may reasonably expect

b.    ensuring that clients are promptly informed about anything that has occurred which places the client at risk of harm or causes harm in our work together, whether or not clients are aware of it, and quickly taking action to limit or repair any harm as far as possible

c.     reviewing all work with clients in supervision

d.    monitoring how clients experience our work together and the Affect of the work with them.


Things to think about when going to see a counsellor

1. How does your counsellor make you feel?- We can sometimes overlook this relationship, but the therapeutic bond is very important and critical to effective counselling. Your counsellor should always offer positive regard, respect your right to be self governing and provide impartial and fair support. 

If you feel misunderstood, judged or are having feelings about your counsellor that are counter productive, it is important to address these at the beginning. It may even be necessary to change counsellors if you are going through an organisation and if with a private counsellor ask for sessions to be paused, using the time away to reflect and think about what might serve you and your circumstances best. 

2. Does counselling really work ?  There really is no magic wand. Your counsellor is not going to take away your problems. Clients have the answers and it's the counsellors role to support you unpacking and working through difficult experiences to find what will be most helpful to you to feel better.    

3. Is there anything I can’t bring to counselling?  - Imagine that the counselling room is a car, you are the driver and your counsellor is in the passenger seat. You are in complete, you decide the start point, you decide the pace at which you travel, you decide the direction and your counsellor will help you navigate the journey along the way. 

Image by Sarah Dorweiler

"Counselling works when you work it...”

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