The initial steps in starting your cooperation with a
psychologist can be stressful and somewhat intimidating. There are considerations regarding the
suitability of the professional to help you achieve your aims in therapy,
whether you feel like you can open up to them, how long therapy will last, how
you know therapy is effective. Thereby, it would be beneficial if I was to clarify
a few things for you, with regards to initiating our cooperation.
As part of starting our therapeutic relationship, we will begin
with a shorter appointment, which serves as an initial assessment. This will
last for approximately 35 minutes. During this appointment, you will be sharing
with me a summary of why you want to engage in therapy now, what you hope to
achieve through therapy, any concerns or any difficulties you expect to meet in
the process of doing so. Time will also be dedicated in discussing my ability
to help you meet your goals and answer any questions you might have regarding
the way I work.
As part of the initial assessment, we will also use a
questionnaire which will help us track any changes in your level of
difficulties, daily changes in your routine, along with your progress.
Moreover, we will be covering any history of physical or mental health
difficulties, medication and habits, so we can both get an idea of the
different elements influencing your wellbeing.
I work with the belief that we do not exist in isolation,
thereby our wellbeing is influenced by biological, social and psychological
elements in our daily life. Thereby, I believe that we need to pay attention to
all the forces that seem to have a pull on you. This is beneficial in
decreasing self-blame regarding your situation, increasing adaptive behaviours,
and planning methods and procedures you could use which are specifically
tailored to your circumstances. For example, imagine that you are employed in a
demanding job post, with long hours and great responsibilities. The things we
will be discussing and trying out, will be extremely different if we are to
compare them to interventions used in another therapeutic relationship where
the client is unemployed. Although both clients might be aiming to decrease
their anxiety around the issue of work, one is dealing with being overworked
while the other with the uncertainty of unemployment and underutilised resources.
As such, although the aim from therapy to work with anxiety in both cases, the
methods used to address this will differ significantly.
Following our assessment, if we are both happy to continue
our cooperation, we will proceed with booking our following sessions. These run
for no longer than 50 minutes. During this time, we will be aiming to foster an
environment where you will feel heard, safe and understood. I will be asking
you to set the agenda of where you would like to concentrate during the given
session, trying to attend to what your priorities are. I will be checking in
whether I understand what you mean, so we are on the same page throughout our
sessions. I appreciate your insight regarding the potential helpfulness of a
proposed action, as I strongly believe that you hold valuable insight regarding
what might or might not be helpful for you. Moreover, I will be trying to
combine your own knowledge with my own, by sharing my insight and asking you to
share your opinion regarding the process and methods we will be using in our
We will be checking on your progress, whether you are happy
with the way things have been evolving and our cooperation every 4-6
sessions. During this time, we will be
holding a “therapy review” to explore whether things are working out for you,
if there is anything you would like to change etc. Thereby, I urge all my
clients to be honest in our sessions, so we can redirect our attention and
methods in areas they feel are priorities.