Intuition Counselling & Psychotherapy

Counselling & Psychotherapy In South London

What to Expect From Your 1st Counselling Session

Want to know what to expect in your 1st counselling session?



In this post I will be addressing one of the questions I get asked a lot by potential clients.  Imagine, you have spent time finding the right therapist for you, maybe you have been through several initial calls with potential therapists and finally you have your first session booked in.  Maybe you will be asking yourself:


What do I share? 

Will it be weird?

Will I feel at ease? 


Now you’ve got here, what can you expect from your first session? 

Now I can’t tell you how all first sessions may look like with all therapists as we are all different but there are general things that you can expect, and I will base the structure I share with how I work. 


What to expect:

  • Structure

My therapy sessions last for 50 minutes otherwise known as the ‘clinical hour’You can and should expect me to start our session on time unless you hear otherwise, and I also expect my clients to be on time too.  I really appreciate a quick email or text to let me know if you will be late, it’s not a problem, I know life happens and we can’t always be on time but remember therapy is a commitment you are making to yourself.  Therapy sessions also normally take place on the same day and time each week (though flexibility can be offered if needed),


  • A Warm Welcome

I really understand how nervewracking that first session can be to attend, and I will always check in on how you are feeling and try my best to ease you into the session. 


  • An Introduction/Contracting

Towards the beginning of our first session, I do something called contracting, I will let you know how I intend to work ethically with you including things such as confidentiality and safeguardingI will then ask if you if are ok and happy with the boundaries we will haveIf anything feels uncomfortable, I am open to discussing and thinking through it together. 


  • An Initial Assessment

Once we are both happy, I conduct something called an initial assessment, it is a few questions I have composed based from my experience on carrying out assessments for an NHS IAPT service and my experience in private practiceThese are ‘getting to know you’ questions asking about what brings you to therapy, coping mechanisms, support network and childhood amongst other thingsThis information helps me to understand what is going on for you and starts the process of us talking through things.


  • Finding a Goal

No pressure with this one but I will ask if you have a therapeutic goal in the first session.   Some clients like to go away and think about it before the second sessionIf the therapy is short term I strongly encourage having a goal to focus on and I can almost guarantee you that will lead to exploring other things that are connected to that goalPart of therapy is connecting the dots.


  • Pacing (according to your needs)

All our therapy sessions including the first one will be paced according to you but I do sometimes have to stop your flow in the first session to get some things down but that will not happen in future sessions.   You will never be rushed though and if the initial assessment carries over to the beginning of the second session that is okI rather you felt comfortable and safe to share.


  • End of Session 'Check In'

it is my job to keep an eye on the time and I will always let you know when we are coming up towards the end of a sessionI also check in with you at the end to explore how it felt sharing with me and may offer you something to chew on during the week, I will also ask if you wish to continue with sessions as the choice is always yours.


  • Breathing Exercise

I will sometimes offer a breathing exercise at the end of the first session (and further sessions) to wind down but there is no pressure to accept as we are all different!  It can be beneficial for some and others may not be ‘feeling it’.


And lastly...a warm goodbye!


I hope you enjoyed this short read on what you can expect from your first therapy session, this should be similar with a lot of therapists, however it will also slightly differ, but this is what you can expect from me. 

As always, take good care of yourself. 





Get in touch

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how counselling and psychotherapy work, or to arrange an initial assessment appointment. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of coming to counselling, whether it could be helpful for you and whether I am the right therapist to help.

You can also call me on 07442168406 if you would prefer to leave a message or speak to me first. I am happy to discuss any queries or questions you may have before arranging an initial appointment.

All enquiries are usually answered within 24 hours, and all contact is strictly confidential and uses secure phone and email services.