I understand that contacting or meeting with a psychotherapist for the first time can be anxiety-provoking. I hope that this information will be helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any of your questions.
Before we meet, I prefer to have a brief conversation over the telephone, so that I can get some sense of what has made you decide to seek psychotherapy. You don't have to share anything that you are not comfortable to talk about over the phone, but it would still be important that we talk, however briefly.
An initial meeting for psychotherapy is often referred to as an initial assessment, but I would like this to be more akin to a 'joint deliberating' or a 'journey' we embark on together, rather than me giving you 'advice' or even telling you what to do, which is not helpful in my experience. The initial meeting aims to clarify your reasons for and hopes from psychotherapy; it allows us to find out how we may be able to work together. We would decide this together, and we can also discuss other sources of help where applicable.
The form this conversation takes varies; it depends somewhat on your preferred number of sessions and how clear you already are about what you would like to see happen in psychotherapy and/or in your life. You may be unsure 'what it is' that has made you decide to meet with me, and that's OK too. I have put together a number of questions that I sometimes ask during a first meeting (PDF document downloadable below) and I may also offer you other questionnaires to help us understand your issues or problems in living.
At the end of the initial meeting, I will offer you a written contract (an example is on the Psychotherapy page). You will have the opportunity to decide whether or not you would like to meet again. If you know beforehand that you wish to have a single session only, do let me know as I can then tailor the session to your specific aims.