What can you expect from the first session?

Making the decision to start counselling can be a very difficult one for many. As a counsellor I am always humbled by the bravery that my clients exhibit in that first session, telling me their difficulties.  As a counsellor I am always mindful of the courage it takes to share with someone your thoughts and emotions.  If you are thinking about starting counselling I hope this blog will help you to make that decision.

The Initial Meeting.

I always offer an initial session without any obligation.  This is a chance for us to get to know each other and to make sure that we can work together.  I try to make my counselling room as comfortable and welcoming as possible.  During this time we would talk about what it is you are looking for from counselling and discuss some of the difficulties you are experiencing.  I always feel it is important to make it clear what you can expect from me and what I would expect from you, so that you can make an informed decision about whether what I offer is for you.  Although this initial session is more about getting to know each other than counselling it is a good way to start the relationship.   


I offer weekly sessions and try to see people at the same time each week where possible although this is not set in stone.  All my sessions are for a therapeutic hour which is between 50 and 60 minutes. 

What will we talk about? 

Counselling is about you.  We will talk about what is going on for you in your life.  I aim to be supportive and non-judgemental and allow you to go at a pace that is right for you.  There is no right or wrong way to have counselling and it is up to you what you choose to bring to the sessions.  Some clients find it useful to work on what is on there mind when they walk through the door, this can alleviate any worries about what you will talk about.  Opening in this way can lead to worker on deeper issues. 

If you want to have counselling.

If you are considering having counselling please feel free to contact me.  My details can be found on the contact page of this website.  I look forward to meeting you.   



Breaking the Stigma, Who is Counselling For?

Thank You

Firstly a thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my first blog and for the many comments and feedback that I have received.   

Breaking the Stigma

Last Thursday (9th October) was World Mental Health Day (WMHD)  and it got me thinking about other people's views of who has counselling.  I posted a tweet (@FionaGunasekara) about it being WMHD and was later talking to a business friend who said she didn't retweet it for fear that people would think that she had mental health problems.  This lead me to thinking about counselling and how it is very rarely talked about.  I wonder how many of you reading this would admit to having had counselling before if that is the case?  

I think it is fair to say that there is a stigma attached to Counselling and Mental Health in general, yet some people come to counselling to promote their mental (well) health rather than because of mental (ill) health.  I have always believed that prevention is better than cure and with 1 in 4 of us experiencing some mental ill health at some point in our lives counselling could be an answer.  

I am not saying that counselling has all the answers and for some very mentally unwell people counselling is not the only solution but we have discussions about being healthy.  Whether we talk about visits to the gym or a healthy eating plan or even doing a 'detox' for a while these are normal conversations that we are having with friends and colleagues every day.  Yet when was the last time you admitted to feeling mentally under the weather? Or even knew that was the case?  I am sure that some of you at some time or another have talked about being stressed out, how many of you have thought about this as an issue that counselling could help with?


What can you do? 

First and foremost we can have discussions with friends, family members and colleagues about our Mental Health.  Share with others your experiences of counselling and show that you are not afraid to think about your mental wellbeing.  Although one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives four in four of us will know someone who has.  


Who is Counselling For? 

I guess the simple answer to that question is all of us!  We all have both physical and mental health and we all need to take care of it.  Talking with friends, family and colleagues is a great way to share our worries but sometimes the ear of a trained professional can really help.  A client said to me recently "This hour a week is the only time in my whole week anyone really listens to what I have to say, the rest of the week I am a wife, business woman and mother, in here I get to be me and I am learning what a nice person that is. I feel so much healthier and happier as a result."  I couldn't have said it better myself.   

Thank you for reading.  I hope that this has inspired you to talk and think about your own attitudes to mental health and wellbeing.  Please DO leave a comment and let's get those conversations started.