What is expected of me in counselling?
The short answer is, nothing. All I ask if that you are open and honest. You do not need to answer questions you do not want to, or talk about topics you are not ready/don't want to talk about. Some clients find it easier to start with issues they experienced from years ago, others prefer to start with what is going on for them right now - there is no right or wrong place to start.
How often should I have sessions?
To begin with, I would advise one session per week or fortnight. This helps to build rapport, a routine and show commitment. Longer gaps can slow down progress and even reduce momentum. However, I understand work life, personal commitments and finances can influence your availability. Sessions will be reviewed every 6 sessions and time in between sessions can be increased in line with progress.
How long will I need counselling for?
This depends on what issues you would like to work on, but I cannot give an exact number of sessions as each person is completely different. Some clients may feel they only need 1 or 2 sessions, others may use counselling long-term (even years) as a 'check-in' once every 6 weeks or so once they feel their main issues have improved.
Will my work, school, college or GP need to be informed I am attending counselling?
No. Sessions are completely confidential between you (the client) and the counsellor. Contact will only be made with your permission or to your GP in an emergency situation.
My child is under 16, can I be present during their sessions? Will I be given updates?
I require a parent/care giver sits with their child for a short while during their first session (particularly whilst going over the therapeutic agreement) to help them feel relaxed, and once the client (child) feels ready, parents/care givers can leave the room as sessions will be 1:1. It is understandable to want to know what is going on in your child's life, why they are feeling sad / anxious / stressed / acting out etc., but it is important the child knows these sessions are a safe place for them to talk openly about thoughts and feelings, whether this be about school pressures or issues with friends. Like it often is for adults, it can be easier for children to speak to someone not involved in their daily life, an adult who will not judge or give them into trouble, or tell their parent/care giver something they would prefer them not to know. Sessions are confidential, however, if I believe your child to be a risk to themselves or someone else, this confidentiality can and will be broken and you shall be informed (as explained in the therapeutic agreement). If I have any other concerns or ideas which I believe may be of benefit, then with the client's permission, I can discuss these with their parent/care giver and vice versa. *Please note I do not work with children under 11 years.
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