Seeing a counsellor: first appointment jitters
So, you’ve found yourself a counsellor and you’ve booked your first “assessment” appointment, but you really don’t know what to expect. I know that fear only too well, so wanted to share my experiences.
I started to get really anxious between making the appointment and the actual appointment date which was just over two weeks away. I was worried about finding the building, so I went on a recce when I had a spare moment with a parent in tow.
I then worried about what they’d ask and whether I could actually open up to someone at an allotted time and provide the information they needed to work out if they could help. Also, what if the person just didn’t understand me or thought I was wasting their time? Plus what about confidentiality?
Oddly perhaps, part of me worried that after attending the initial assessment I’d feel obliged to go back if an appointment was offered, even if it didn’t quite feel right. Actually it became clear during the appointment that it was just as important for me to get to know them and make the call on whether it was right for me, and there really was no pressure either way.
Not knowing what to expect was a real barrier to actually going on the day in question: the fear of the unknown was really getting to me. Driving to the appointment calmed me slightly having done the run before and at least being able to focus on the known part of the whole experience: how to get there, where to park and where the entrance was.
I made it to the appointment and it really wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated. I guess they get used to nervous first timers and so I was offered a drink and we started off with easy questions about me, before going on to what had led me to make contact and a bit of family history. The terms of counselling and confidentiality were clearly set out, but presented in a non intimidating way.
It was a great service located above a Connexions centre so it removed some of the trepidation I’d felt about being spotted going into a counselling building, and I felt really at home. It was more informal with bean bags on the floor, paper and pens for doodling…I was quite surprised by the informality of it, but it certainly helped me feel more comfortable. Plus they were sensitive to the fact that words weren’t necessarily my strong point when it came to talking about my feelings, so I was encouraged to use other creative ways to express myself.
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