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Beginning a Counselling Session

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 16 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
Counselling Counsellor Client Non Verbal

A certain air of mystery surrounds therapeutic sessions like counselling and psychotherapy. Many people believe this form of one-to-one therapy will leave them feeling exposed and uncomfortable; whilst others assume confidence will not be strictly maintained. Although there are many different counselling approaches and disciplines available, there are however, strict guidelines that a counsellor, psychotherapist or other therapeutic professional must adhere to at all times.

In the Beginning

At the start of every counselling relationship some form of client assessment must be made. This evaluation may be done during one appointment with the counsellor or therapist, or over a number of arranged sessions. The reason for this evaluation is to allow the counsellor the opportunity to clearly understand the problems the client wishes to address and improve.

Once a counsellor has been able to evaluate the client, and the presented issues and problems, the counsellor will be able to allocate an agreed time for subsequent counselling appointments. The counsellor, or therapist, will also be able to review various situations, issues and concerns, throughout the course of their counselling relationship with the client.

During the Session

Each meeting with a counsellor is an opportunity for the client to express emotions, feelings and thoughts in a safe, confidential environment. The client will be encouraged to use free-association and free-thinking to explore whatever problem they are experiencing. The counsellor can offer guidance and encouragement, and provide additional support when needed. They can also set the client homework, so that they continue to experience empowerment after the counselling session has finished.

The counsellor will also set an agenda for each one-to-one session, so that the client can identify and acknowledge the progress that is being made week-to-week and session-to-session. Each session will also be reviewed, and discussed with the client at the subsequent counselling appointment.

What Sometimes Happens

At the evaluation session a potential client may realise a number of things:

  • A client may find that they are unable to express themselves freely, due to fear, lack of confidence or other overwhelming feelings.
  • Some clients realise that all they needed was one session, with a counsellor, in order to clarify thoughts and feelings. They may decide to return for counselling at a later stage, or may opt not to at all.
  • With a counsellor’s supportive help, a client may also identify and understand that the form of counselling they are seeking may not be the most suitable or appropriate counselling option for them. If this is the case the counsellor may suggest another type of therapeutic counselling and also provide further information resources.

What the Counsellor Does

Effective counselling requires careful review and planning. Because of the personal nature of the counselling relationship between a counsellor and client, each one-to-one session is an opportunity to explore free-thinking, and therefore each of the counselling sessions cannot be too structured.

It is also the counsellor’s job to provide effective non-verbal communication and to translate the client's body language. They must also encourage and empower the client to make steady progress. This must be done in a caring, supportive and safe environment, at all times. Read more about the skills used by counsellors during the course of each session or project.

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TJC - Your Question:
I'm studying at National University of Lesotho and I have not yet catch up the style of living and studying due to many tasks given by different lecturers.So again I am drinking alcohol on weekends trying to remove my stress but still I'm on the same conditions

Our Response:
While you may only be a heavy drinker in a bid to address the stress in your life .This can lead to habitual drinking if you do not address the underlying problems that are making your life unmanageable. Alcohol dependency, is a chronic disease whose symptoms include an irresistible craving for alcohol, continuing to drink despite it causing regular and repeated physical, psychological, economic or relationship problems and the inability to limit or moderate drinking. Attempting to deal with your drinking whatever your level, is one step forward to trying to address this and kick the habit. Good luck.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 17-Sep-15 @ 10:39 AM
I'm studying at National University of Lesotho and I have not yet catch up the style of living and studying due to many tasks given by different lecturers.So again I am drinking alcohol on weekends trying to remove my stress but still I'm on the same conditions
TJC - 16-Sep-15 @ 7:47 AM
@Dida - you will be able to find some information if you do an online search for 'how to help a child grieve the loss of a parent'. If you are writing an essay, it is up to you to conduct your own research and you will also be required cite your references. I hope this helps.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 17-Apr-15 @ 1:45 PM
Hi, can you please help me, I have an assignment on how to help a student who lost his parents while he is four year, and information of the death of his patents gets while he is 16 years, he is in school and he was trying to control his emotion but he failed and started to isolate him self with other students, don't want to play with them and crying, how can i help that student to handle his challenged
Dida - 16-Apr-15 @ 4:53 PM
Hi am studying counselling the reason for this is that I have been though abuse and domestic violence and I feel I could help others who have been though the same problems i also have epilepsy and a 15 yr old son who is autistic and my daughter who is 13 and has also been a victim of abuse.so if any one feels they need to talk you are more than welcome to email me
Tiny - 26-Feb-13 @ 4:12 PM
If your partner continues to hit you get a tin of baked beans, by hitting him with the baked beans this will show them who is boss! Also on a night time demand massages and food etc, this will also show who is boss, by being in a relationship with the same gender can cause confusion maybe take a walk to aldi and do some shopping or get to no one another better by rubbin mouldy chocolate spread on each other or around the anus hole
Madun - 18-Sep-12 @ 4:04 PM
please i need to know how to strart a counselling session in a hospital setting.and what are the counselling relationship in strarting a counselling.
vicky - 6-Sep-12 @ 3:20 PM
i really want to have a conselling session,, ive been having soo many problems these days regarding my studies,, pls help if possible.
pp - 31-Aug-12 @ 12:09 PM
My current partner of the same sex is having problems within our relationship taking anger out on myself when it could be dealt in a different way. I think counselling could be great for us
Nelly - 21-Aug-12 @ 5:01 PM
Could you please help me identify different forms of communication used in a helping relationship and also identify the communication skills used in a helping relationship.
GARY KIDMAN - 26-May-11 @ 9:42 PM
I had counselling found it helped me deal with the lose of my mother, who died 7 years a go, I miss her more than ever , god bless her , x
Sally Anne - 18-May-11 @ 12:35 AM
I'm only 14 but I've been having a few family problems.
nic - 6-Apr-11 @ 9:24 PM
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