What happens at my first appointment?


It is quite normal to feel apprehensive or uncertain about what happens at a first appointment for counselling. This post aims to put your mind at ease by outlining what you can expect when you come to your first appointment.

I am happy for you to call me directly to ask any questions or discuss any concerns before making an appointment.

People tend to leave the first session with a great sense of relief. Frequently, people say they wish they had taken this step long before. Skilfull counselling can be a very enjoyable and empowering experience.

When you make your appointment I will send you an email or phone text as you prefer, confirming your appointment and location details.

 It is not necessary to have a referral. You can simply call and book in for any reason, at any time. People seek counselling for many reasons. These range from problem situations, decision making or relationship concerns to self esteem and confidence. Counselling can be very effective in treating anxiety, depression, stress and emotional issues. Many people seek counselling for personal development and empowerment. Some people want to explore future planning with more of a coaching focus.

If you do have a referral from a Doctor or other source you bring this with you to the first session. Hicaps is available to process Medicare rebates on the spot.

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

At the first session we take some basic background information. This includes your name, date of birth and contact details. You will be invited to ask any questions you may have. I can give you information about confidentiality, record keeping and the basic counselling process.

The first session aims to gain a clear understanding of your difficulties or reasons for seeking counselling. Sometimes people are very definite about what they want to get from the session. If you are not sure, together we can 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 some key areas.

  • How the problem, concern or difficulties arose or developed.
  • What may be maintaining the problem situation or difficulty.
  • What could be blocking its’ resolution.
  • How you may have dealt with or coped with the problem or goals previously.

This discussion usually involves talking about thoughts, beliefs, feelings and what you have experienced. We identify 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 early life experiences may be relevant in understanding “the problem” and solutions.

Together we develop a flexible treatment plan so you will know what to expect in future sessions. You can have a clear understanding of what steps we can take to achieve your goals and desired outcomes.

My approach puts a high value on practical help. Apart from various handouts, I offer many strategies, tools and techniques that you can easily learn and begin to use immediately.

You can expect to have many ‘Aha!” moments, insights and epiphanies as your self understanding is enhanced.

The number of sessions can range from one or two sessions to several sessions depending on the nature of the problem and treatment goals. You have the right to attend however many sessions you choose without obligation. If you are claiming Medicare or Health Fund rebates, the number of sessions rebated in a year are limited. However, you can continue with more sessions without the rebate if you wish.

You can expect to leave the first session with a much deeper understanding of what brought you to counselling, and a positive anticipation about what is possible in our work together.

My main location is at the Citycave Wellness Centre in Paddington. I also have some availability at the Carseldine Family Clinic. Free parking is available. After hours evenings and weekend appointments are also offered.

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