Contacting a psychotherapist for the first time can, for some people, feel like a daunting step to take. For those who have previous experience of engaging in therapeutic work, the level of felt anxiety is usually far less intense. Contrary to what some people have come to believe, anxiety is normal and it is important to us for our survival. When we take risks in life or when we encounter new situations that are unfamiliar to us, it is to be expected that we may feel anxious. However, sometimes people can become anxious about being anxious and get into a kind of fight with themselves, causing their anxiety levels to increase to a level that feels unmanageable. Also, where there is disconnect in a person's relationships with significant others, this can lead to heightened levels of anxiety, along with a sense of loneliness. A first step in regulating anxiety levels more effectively is to accept that it is a normal response to some environmental situation, as this, combined with a willingness to tolerate the discomfort of anxiety (or to explore the current situation, where anxiety levels are significantly heightened), enables us to support ourselves more effectively and to live our lives more fully.
People make their first contact with me by telephone or by email. If the first contact is by email, I usually suggest a telephone conversation before we agree to meet, as this enables me to discuss with you some practical details about our first meeting. It also provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have relating to my practice, and it is an opportunity for us to get some sense of each other before we agree to meet.
Once an agreement to meet has taken place, an appointment is arranged for an assessment session. In this session I discuss with you the practical details of how I work, such as those pertaining to confidentiality, safety and client responsibility. I take some background details, which includes your general health status and any forms of treatment that you may be receiving. Consideration is given to the nature of your difficulties and what you are hoping to get from therapy. I then discuss with you the ways that we may work together, in order that we are both clear about what we are intending to do and work towards in the subsequent sessions. The information that you provide enables me to assess whether the service I am providing is appropriate to your needs. If it is not, then I may be able to suggest other services that may be more helpful to you. The assessment session also provides you with an opportunity to ask any further questions that you may have and to decide whether you want to engage in further therapeutic sessions with me.
Tel: 0151 733 4554
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