Lots of things happen, but for the most part it is a conversation between two people with a focus on what you bring to the counselling room. What you bring is up to you but this will be a chance for you to look at the things that concern you. You’ll find that I give attention and notice what’s important to you, what you value, what you miss out and what you dismiss. I’ll invite you to notice it too. I may encourage you to concentrate on those areas with an emotional charge or, alternatively, those areas that seem to be ignored. We can both pay attention to your history, how you are living just now and how we relate to each other. In doing this we can gain understanding of how past experiences influence your present beliefs and how you feel today. You can then become more aware of your patterns and hopefully more understanding of how you came to make these choices.
Part of the conversation will probably involve some expression of emotion, for these are emotive subjects, and counsellors are usually comfortable about this. The expression of your feelings will be welcome in the counselling room along with everything else you have to bring.
The information you give stays confidential. There are only two exceptions to this. If I feel there is a serious risk to someone’s safety then I will break confidentiality, although I will always attempt to speak to you about it first. In addition, I discuss my work with my supervisor, the purpose of which is to make sure I work in a manner that is effective, ethical and safe. Regular supervision is a requirement of my professional body.