Taking the first step

Seeking counselling for the first time can feel daunting for many. Often it can take quite some time to build up the confidence to send that email or make that call requesting support.


As counsellors we know this and will be sensitive to your feelings when you make contact. So, we thought it would be helpful to explain what you can expect from an initial session.

The initial session 

An initial session is an opportunity for you and the counsellor to discuss your needs for support and any concerns you have about counselling. You can ask questions around how your counsellor works, what to expect and the areas that may be discussed. 

The frequency, cost and timings will all be discussed and agreed mutually alongside a working agreement. 

An initial session is also an opportunity for you to decide if you connect with the counsellor and if you feel ready to start counselling.

Once you commence counselling, you will review progress regularly with your counsellor to ensure you feel you are benefiting from the support. Sometimes it can be difficult talking about painful feelings or emotions and counsellors support you in doing this at your own pace.

Counselling is a very personal journey and one that is different for every client. Our role is to help you to discover what you need from counselling and help you to talk about whatever you are struggling with at your own pace.

We support adults with a range of difficulties from loss, bereavement, separation and divorce, anxiety, depression, post natal depression, health issues, relationship issues, work stress, trauma and many other areas of support. 

As counsellors we have all undertaken our own personal counselling as part of our training, so we also understand what it feels like to be a client and engage in talking therapy. 

Often it is the fear around not knowing what to expect that can stop people from reaching out.

Sometimes people worry that their problem isn’t serious enough for counselling but we always say, if something is bothering you, it’s worth seeking support. 
You don’t have to wait until a crisis to seek counselling. Ongoing stress can be difficult to live with day to day and counselling can help alleviate some of that stress.

If you have been feeling tearful or noticing changes in appetite and sleep, we always suggest seeing your GP too to rule out any possible physical causes. GPs are very supportive of talking therapies if they feel you may be stressed or struggling emotionally. 

If you are considering counselling, try to get a personal recommendation for a counsellor who comes recommended. Ask questions about how they work, what you can expect and most importantly use your initial session to decide if the counsellor feels right for you.

This first step can feel difficult and we want to support you in feeling secure as you do it. 

Give yourself time to take that step and recognise that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23
Written by Circle Therapy, Counselling Adults & Children. Supervision for Counsellors
Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23

Gayle Hammill MBACP Dip.Psych.Couns is a registered psychotherapeutic therapist supporting adults, couples and children.
Gayle is the founder of Circle Therapy Ltd and leads a team of counsellors in private practice. Gayle has specialist interests in anxiety and relationships.

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