Your first counselling session

Your first counselling session can be crazy scary, and it’s natural to have all kinds of concerns and doubts. We asked young people at The Mix about their first experiences of a talking treatment to help you through it.

Girl in waiting room

It's natural to be nervous.

Do I really need to go to counselling?

“Trying new things can be difficult, but it’s well worth it in the long-run. I won’t lie, counselling isn’t for everyone, but there are lots of young people who stick with it and are very satisfied when they come out the other side. If you’re like me, and you worry about talking to someone face to face, maybe think about online counselling to start with? There are always options, you just have to persevere and be willing to try.” Rachelizabeth

“You should be proud you’ve admitted you have a problem and have been smart enough to deal with it. Counselling isn’t always easy – you’ll feel emotionally drained and it will be difficult at times. In the end, you’ll feel a lot more stable and on the right road.” Natalie8

I feel pathetic – shouldn’t I be able to sort myself out?

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it takes a lot of strength. If you’ve admitted you have a problem and need support you should feel proud of yourself – it’s a difficult step to take. Everyone needs help from time to time.” Mavis

“If having a future means spending some time in counselling, it’s worth it. If you think ‘but I have nothing to offer‘ or ‘what’s the point?’ you’re not alone, I thought that too. But you’d be amazed at what you have to offer the world.” Rachelizabeth

What will happen at my first appointment? Or my initial assessment?

“They asked me things about my life and growing up etc. This gives them a chance to get to know you so they can give you the support you need. They also asked me what I wanted to get out of counselling. It can be scary, and you might worry you’re saying the wrong thing. But the counsellor will understand and won’t put you under pressure. They won’t rush you.” ClaireStephanie

“They should outline their confidentiality and privacy arrangements, how you’ll be matched to a counsellor, how long you’ll have to wait, costs, and what to expect from them, e.g. a weekly hour-long session. It’s a chance for you to gauge how you feel about them. There’s no pressure to commit to counselling if it doesn’t feel right.” Mavis

What if I don’t like my counsellor?

“If you don’t feel comfortable when you first meet them then you should contact someone else. If you’ve had several sessions, raise your discomfort with your counsellor as this may need to be addressed. If you continue to feel unhappy you may need to consider seeking a different person.” SophieA

“You won’t be made to stick to sessions if it’s not working for you. You may be encouraged to persevere, but ultimately it’s your decision. It’s important to try to go to each session with an open mind, regardless of any previous sessions.” Rachelizabeth


Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
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Updated on 29-Sep-2015