If you’ve never contacted a counsellor before it can seem a strange, uncomfortable or even scary idea. After all, telling strangers our deepest feelings isn’t something we’re brought up to do. I get how nerve-wracking it can feel, so here I’ll explain why taking that step is actually risk-free and nothing like as scary as it may seem
I offer all clients a 20-30 minute pre-therapy chat to see if counselling could help, and whether I might be the right therapist for you. There’s no commitment for you to book a session and you don’t have to decide immediately. You’re free to have think after the call and if you decide this isn’t for you, that’s fine with me. For therapy to be effective, clients need to feel it is right for them, so this first call is like a chance to ‘try before you buy’ and is helpful for both client and counsellor alike.
YOU GOT THE POWER!
Counsellors refer to the people they help as a “clients”, but as this stage, if you think of yourself as “customer” it might help you feel more empowered. At this point you’re just checking things out: you have the right to ask any questions you want and if you don’t like what you hear, you have the power to end the call there and then.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS?
After we’ve briefly introduced ourselves, I’ll invite you to share a little about what brought you here and I’ll respond in a way that should help you feel heard and understood. I try to use these pre-therapy calls as a chance for you to get a brief idea of what it would be like to work with me. I won’t ask you any difficult questions, and I won’t put you under any pressure to share more than you are comfortable with.
This call also helps me know whether I might be able to help, and I’ll share my thoughts on this with you. I’ll only offer to help if I think there’s a good chance that I can. My ethical commitments and duty of care mean that if not, I’ll try to point you in the right direction.
YOUR PRIVACY, MY PRIORITY
Confidentiality is the foundation of any successful therapy. For you to feel safe enough to talk, you need to know that everything you say is private. Even at this initial stage, I’ll make clear that everything we discuss stays between you and I.
SAFE FROM HARM
In addition to confidentiality, safety in counselling is created by the ethical frameworks that all therapists follow. I’m a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). This binds me to an Ethical Framework that includes principles such as always working in the best interests of my client, to be trustworthy, do no harm, and to respect my client's freedom at all times. Even at this early stage, these principles apply, helping me provide you with a first call experience that feels safe and allowing you the freedom to chose your own best next steps.
Hopefully this has helped give you a clearer idea of what would happen if you were to phone a counsellor. There really isn't anything to fear, and there could be a lot to gain, so if you were to call from the outset I'd do all I can to help you feel at ease.