If you’ve never been to counselling before, you may wonder what it’s all about. I hope that my answers to frequently asked questions will help.

What is counselling therapy?

Your therapy is for you – you’re the greatest expert on ‘you’. I’m here to help by providing a caring and supporting environment, together with the time and space you need, to talk through concerns and issues in a way that leads to a greater self-awareness and the clarity you need to move forward in making your own choices.

I’m not here to give you advice or tell you what to do; I won’t try to ‘fix’ you. Although I may challenge your preconceptions, you’re still best placed to know what will and won’t fit with who you are and the life you lead.

How much will I have to disclose?

Some people worry that they will have to go into every detail of their life, their background and family history. To be honest, it’s difficult to know what we will end-up touching on, but it is likely that we will touch on many of these aspects. However, please be assured that you will always be in control of what you want to disclose and the rate at which you want to disclose it.

What’s an introductory session?

This allows you to meet me without committing to following-up. In the first session we will cover Confidentiality, Boundaries, Your hopes, Aims, Goals for counselling.

I’ll also ask you to give me your medical history and current medication. While it’s helpful for me to know it, this isn’t compulsory.

At the end of the introductory session, an approach to working together will be discussed with a suggested number of sessions and an agreed aim. From there it’s up to you whether or not you’re ready to proceed.

How long does each session last?

Sessions last for one hour. They are typically once per week at the same time and day.

However, sometimes people’s situations or working patterns make this difficult, in which case a different more flexible schedule can be determined.

How long does counselling go on?

Effective work can be done in as few as 6 sessions. However, some issues may take longer and in this case we may decide upon a phased approach with regular reviews at the end of each phase.

Whatever the situation, we will discuss and agree upon the approach that’s appropriate to you in our first meeting. It’s completely open and transparent, and you won’t be forced into any long-term commitment.

Safeguards and supervision

Confidentiality underpins every counselling relationship. I take your confidentiality very seriously.

However, I need to be explicit about the exceptions to confidentiality – if you disclose you are involved with a terrorist act, that you are about to harm yourself or somebody else, or if you disclose any current child abuse (whether you’re involved with it or not), then I have a legal and ethical duty to report this to the relevant authority. If I feel that this is the case, I will wherever possible discuss this with you first.

In line with the BACP ethical framework, please be aware that I have a supervisor who supports me to ensure that I’m working to the best of my ability and that nothing significant is being missed.

Are you ready to get started?

If you’d like to meet me before going further with the counselling, why not get in touch to arrange a no-strings attached Introductory Session – simply email me at shelleypeterson@blueyonder.co.uk 

Not sure if you’re ready for counselling?

Read my Blog “How do I know I’m ready for counselling” to see if ‘now’ is the right time for you.