Every counselor handles their initial meeting with clients slightly differently, but this is a rough outline of what to expect at some point during the first session:
An introduction to your counselor and the counseling process
- The counselor will review his/her qualifications and approach to counseling. I personally invite my clients to ask me any questions that they may have about me that would help them feel most comfortable working with me.
- You will likely review policies and complete any required paperwork. This includes your rights and responsibilities, financial policies and the provider’s privacy notice.
- You will discuss the limits of confidentiality.
An in depth discussion of your presenting concerns, symptoms and your personal history
- It may feel like your counselor is asking a lot of personal questions, but this is an important part of understanding your presenting concerns and the contributing factors.
- Please be as honest as possible as the information provided will influence the recommendations that your counselor makes.
- The counselor may share some diagnostic impressions based on the symptoms you have described.
A discussion of the next steps
- Your counselor will likely check in with you and see what your level of comfort was during the session and share his/her recommendations.
If either the client or the counselor feel that they are not a good fit for working together, a referral may be made.
- The counselor may recommend further assessment.
- If further assessment is not needed, the counselor may propose a recommended approach to addressing your concerns and a recommended frequency of appointments.
- You and your counselor will likely discuss goals you would like to address in counseling and how you will begin to address those goals.