When you go to your first counselling session it is quite normal to feel some sense of nervousness or apprehension. There are many questions left unspoken and unanswered before you arrive. But this does not need to be an issue of major concern, if you understand that you always have the right to speak your mind, raise any questions or issues with your counsellor and make all the necessary choices available by yourself. Nothing is imposed or forced on you. And although it can be challenging at times, a good counsellor will have some sense of how to match the pace of counselling sessions to the needs of their clients (C, Rogers, 1985).
So what is so daunting about that first session? Clients may not know what is expected of them, whether they will be diagnosed with a serious mental condition, or if they are going to discover something about themselves they did not want to know. Clients sometimes imagine they will be overwhelmed by the counsellor, or the therapist will probe deeper than they are able to cope with. The truth is that whilst these doubts are based on reasonable and understandable fears, they are highly unlikely scenarios. Counsellors, on the whole are trained well to support you with empathy and compassion, as well as to challenge you appropriately and help you gain a deeper sense of self-awareness. They are not there to implant false memories, probe around for more problems than you came in with, judge you or label you as ‘crazy’.