Counselling and Relationship Therapy

Sophia Elise

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about counselling and relationship therapy. 

Is what we talk about confidential?
Yes. What we talk about during a session remains between us. However, there are some exceptions to this
1.When you or someone else is at risk of serious harm.
2.When children are in danger.
3.When you give permission for your information to be shared with another person.
4.During Supervision. All counsellors are required to attend professional supervision. This means talking to an experienced counsellor about our client work to ensure that we are clear on our motivations, our own processes, and that both the clients and ourselves are kept safe. My supervisor is bound by the same ethics and confidentiality as me.

What happens during a first appointment?
The first session is usually about getting to know each other, finding out what has bought you to counselling, and what your expectations and goals are for counselling.  It’s also an opportunity for you to work out whether I’m the right counsellor for you. 

What if I don’t like you or we don’t click/connect?
Sometimes in life people just don’t click/connect and that’s ok.  If you think I’m not the right counsellor for you, I won’t be upset or offended.  Honesty is important. You just need to tell me and I will work with you to help find a counsellor who may be a better fit for you. I want you to get the help you need.

What if I don't want to talk about some topics?
Counselling is not about re-traumatising you or making you re-live painful or traumatic experiences.  I will respect your desire to discuss what is relevant and comfortable to you. Hopefully over time, as you learn to trust me more and we develop a rapport, you will feel more comfortable discussing topics that may once have been out of bounds for you.

Will you tell me what to do?
No.  Counselling is not about telling you what to do, telling you who to be with etc. I will work with you to work out what is right for you.

How many times sessions/appointments will I need?
You may find that one session is all you need for a specific issue. Sometimes ongoing support is required. I often find that 6-8 sessions is enough for most individual clients to feel that their life is back in control and that they feel confident in managing on their own again. With relationship therapy, couples usually require longer therapy but it can vary depending on the issues that brought you to see me and what you are hoping to achieve. 

How often do I need to see you?
If you are in crisis, more frequent sessions can be helpful at the beginning, and sessions can then be spread out as you feel stronger and more able to manage. Clients generally lose momentum and motivation if they wait too long between appointments. Therefore it is often better to have weekly appointments for the first 4 weeks, then reassess at that point and maybe move to fortnightly ones. With relationship therapy, I recommend that couples commit to weekly sessions for the first six weeks in order to achieve some traction and so that motivation remains high. 

How will I know when I don’t need to come anymore?
I often find that clients can tell within themselves when they no longer need to come.  I also look out for signs of increasing confidence and strength and will discuss these with you.  My goal is to help get you back to living your life with confidence as quickly as possible. Endings are important, so when you are ready to finish, let me know. Our final session is an opportunity for us to farewell each other and also to honour the journey we have taken together.

Can I bring my kids, partner or friend to my appointments?
You are welcome to bring a support person, partner or friend to your counselling appointments. They can be part of the counselling process or merely there for moral support - it's completely up to you. However, I don’t have a separate waiting room so if you do bring someone with you, you need to be comfortable with having them in the room with us.  With children it is better to make alternative arrangements for childcare so that you are able to give our sessions your undivided attention and that we can talk freely. If you have a young baby that you need to bring with you, please let me know prior to the session.

What if I see you when I’m out and about?
If we come across each other in another setting, I will not approach you (although I am happy to be approached by you!) This is to prevent any possible embarrassment for you; if you have company, you may not want the people you are with to know how we met.

It is unethical for me to offer a hug in case that makes you uncomfortable or it’s not what you are wanting. However, you are very welcome to ask, and I will happily oblige.