Stepping into a counselling room for the first time can be a nerve wracking experience. So nerve wracking that the thought of it can put a lot of people off trying counselling. This blog post talks about what happens the first time you come into a counselling room at New Dawn.
You have to ring the doorbell to come in - sometimes there is a receptionist, sometimes not. Either way your assessor will be there very quickly to welcome you and offer you a drink.
That first piece of paperwork we give you, is a questionnaire which asks you about how you have been feeling recently. It is useful because it gets your brain thinking about how you are feeling, and it also gives us a snapshot of your current emotional state. If you struggle with forms, we have alternative versions that are simpler that can be used - please mention this to your assessor when booking your assessment and they will be happy to provide an alternative.
The questionnaire has a reference number on it, so you don’t need to put your name on it. It is really important to us that your confidentiality is protected in our work together.
The Counselling Room
When you have finished the questionnaire your assessor will take you from reception to the counselling room. The room will have at least two chairs in it, of the same height, and you can choose which seat you would like to sit in - wherever you feel most comfortable in the room. Even if it looks like the assessor has claimed a seat, if you want that seat, it’s yours. There will be fresh water and lots of tissues.
The Assessor will work through a set of questions with you in this session.
The aim of these questions is to build up a fuller picture of you and your current situation, what challenges you are facing, and what support you have available to you. So that we can continue to work together safely. It isn't like a job interview were we are checking if you are suitable for counselling. If you're there, you're suitable for counselling.
We believe everyone who comes through our door is worthy of the best support we can give them.
Finding Out About You
The next part of the session will be finding out a bit more about you, we will ask you some questions and write down your answers. We will ask your name, address, contact details.
We will also ask for your Doctor’s name, address and telephone number. There are other practical questions too, for example, do you have any allergies? are you on any medication? or do you have any ongoing or underlying medical conditions?
Then we will ask you what has brought you to therapy and what you would like to accomplish in counselling. Where do you want to be at the end of this process, however long that takes.
We will ask you about your family background, any recent bereavements and support network to begin to build a picture of your world.
We will discuss if you have suicidal thoughts or if you self harm in any way. Your answers to these questions would not stop us from working with you. We ask about these areas to get a fuller understanding of where you are at, and what you are dealing with currently. Also to show, that it’s okay to feel like this.
Hopefully, with time, you will feel safe to talk about those kinds of feelings in session with your counsellor. We will ask about alcohol and drug use as well, again, for the same reasons - we hope that you will eventually feel safe and accepted enough in our counselling room to be open and honest about all of your feelings, behaviours and thoughts.
Throughout this assessment session the assessor will check if you have any questions or concerns.
Any notes or paperwork that are generated by our work together will remain confidential. We do this by keeping anything with your personal details e.g. name, address, contact number etc. separate from notes specific to what we talk about in our sessions. These session notes are marked with an identification number so that we know who they belong too. Client contact information and session notes are held in two separate secure locations. All electronic data we have regarding you is held in password protected systems.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of what to expect in an assessment session. If you have any other questions please get in touch via the centre email or give us a call on 0115 9170500.