Deciding to engage in counselling is an important and brave decision. Dr Warwick's role in this is to support you by providing a safe, non-judgemental and confidential place to help you find a way forward. The therapy is built on a foundation of empathy, integrity and trust to ensure that you feel accepted, validated and understood.
Our first appointment will be based around two primary tasks; contracting and completing an assessment. This sounds much scarier and formal than it needs to. In essence Dr Warwick will welcome you and make you feel settled in the office before having a discussion around what has brought you to seek the help of a counselling psychologist. We will set goals and I will take a short history of relevant information before we agree on a contract of how to work with one another. This is so that we are both clear on how the counselling will take place and to ensure that we are the right match for one another.
The session after your first appointment will take one of two directions. Dr Warwick will present you with an initial psychological formulation that maps out your problem to check that it has been understood correctly. Then the session will follow your priorities to meet your goals. At points, Dr Warwick will offer interventions along the way but counselling and psychotherapy is not based on giving out solutions. This is because one way of doing something may work for one person but not another. Also it is you that has to live with the consequences of every choice. The basis of counselling is that you will be listened to and heard and together a solution that best suits you will be found collaboratively. You will be encouraged to take control of the session to empower you and ensure that the time is spent on what you wish to focus upon.
You may come to counselling with an intention of working in a particular way or under a particular way. During your assessment you'll be asked about the ways in which you like to work but ultimately a therapeutic approach based upon clinical evidence that suits your presenting problem will be used, all of which will be explained to you so you can make an informed choice about engaging with it.
Usually outcome measures will be completed, these are short questionnaires that allow us to empirically and objectively track your progress over time. These are done every 6 weeks as part of a review to see how the counselling is going and adjust accordingly.
It is difficult to say here how many counselling sessions you will need. However, during your assessment session you will be offered an estimation. This will be based upon the national recommended guidelines and experience this could range from 6 sessions to 24 sessions depending on the problem, the complexity and your goals around it.