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First Counselling Session - What To Expect

Whether you have had counselling before or you are considering counselling for the first time, I would like to give you a little bit of information about what you expect in your first counselling session.

What happens on the first counselling session?

The first session can feel difficult for some people - ‘what am I going to say’ or ‘where do I start’ are often things people say at the start of a first session. Some feel apprehension that they are going to be opening up to a complete stranger about things that are personal and private to them. It might feel uncomfortable for some and it might feel cathartic for others.


We are all different and I promise to help you feel at ease from the outset. Once new clients are settled and comfortable in the therapy room and after introducing myself properly, I will verbalise the conditions of confidentiality. This gives new clients a chance to try to relax a little and get used to the environment. When a new client is struggling to know where to start in a first session, I might précis the initial phone call or ask ‘what is the most pressing thing on your mind, what keeps you awake at night’?


The first session is usually taken up with setting the scene of what someone has experienced or how and why they are feeling the way that they are. I will take very brief notes during sessions to act as a reminder for me of things to explore further to save me from interrupting the flow of the client whilst they are talking.

First sessions are very much the opportunity for setting out the circumstances by which someone has decided to have counselling and shapes the therapeutic work that will continue in the next sessions. This session and forthcoming sessions might be where any underlying issues might be uncovered which help to shape future work.

Where will counselling sessions take place?

I work from home and have a purpose built therapy room in the garden. It is not at all clinical and I have chosen to go for a much more relaxed environment akin to a comfy lounge. I want clients to feel at ease during their time having counselling with me and client feedback tells me that this environment is conducive to people feeling comfortable. There is external access to the therapy room meaning discretion is maintained.


For those people who are unable to physically get to me for face to face sessions I can provide counselling either online over video-calling or over the phone.

Kate Alliss Counselling_edited.jpg

Kate Alliss BACP,

Qualified Counsellor based in Stourbridge.


Level 2 Counselling Skills
Level 3 Diploma Counselling Skills 
Level 4 Diploma Therapeutic Counselling

OU Online Counselling

CPCAB Level 2 Substance Misuse

Registered member of BACP

How long does counselling take to work?

It’s impossible to say how long counselling takes to work, as it’s based on the individual’s circumstances. Therefore I do not put time limits on the number of sessions people have with me. When the work is done, the work is done. This is something that will be talked about in sessions through regular reviews so that I can be sure you are getting what you need from counselling with me and we are working towards the outcomes from therapy you want to achieve.

What is the outcome of counselling? 

By helping you to explore what has happened to you, whether it be present day or in the past, I hope to help you make sense of how you are feeling and help you to try to understand your reactions and responses in the present day. Often, events that have happened in our near or in our distant past affect our thoughts, reactions and behaviours today and by helping you gain an understanding of this, I hope to help you find ways to move forward in a more positive and healthy way. 

Whatever you are going through or have gone through can have a significant effect on our relationships, our work, our feelings of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.

What happens at the initial consultation?

I offer a free initial phone call with people who approach me when thinking about having counselling. This phone call is free of charge and will probably last around 15-20 minutes but this depends on the individual’s needs. The initial phone call is a chance for me to find out how the person is feeling, what is happening for them, why they have decided to consider counselling at this time and for me to be sure that I am able to help them. 


It is important that when considering counselling that the right therapist is found for you to get the best out of the work you will be doing. If you can’t connect with your therapist you might struggle to build a strong working relationship with them and achieve your goals. The initial phone call is a chance for you to see how you’d feel working with me and unless you expressly tell me you want to go ahead in the phone call I will leave you to make a decision and come back to me to book in, if you wish.


If you decide to go ahead we can agree on a suitable day and time for your first session and then I will send you an email confirming those details. Attached to the email will be my Privacy Policy and Working Agreement. The Privacy Policy is for your information. The Working Agreement sets out the boundaries within which we will work - confidentiality, length of sessions, cancellation policy, how to pay etc. I ask new clients to read through both documents and make sure they are happy with the content and then sign and email back to me the Working Agreement.

What are the different types of counselling?

There are many different types of counselling that you can have, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic, Humanistic, for example. 


As well as face-to-face counselling, most counsellors provide options for telephone counselling or through video-calls.

The type of counselling I provide is Integrative Person-Centred counselling. The ‘person-centred’ element means that you are at the centre of the work that we do and you will guide the sessions depending on what you feel you need to talk about. The ‘integrative’ part of my work means that I can draw on other types of counselling depending on what you need in the therapy room at that time.

How much do counselling sessions cost?

Sessions last one hour, cost £50.00 and I ask for electronic payment in advance. Couples counselling costs £70.00 per session.

* Confidentiality - I offer all of my clients a safe and confidential space to talk openly about whatever is going on for them without fear of shame, embarrassment or judgement. There are some exceptions to when I may have to break a client’s confidentiality and these are:


Safeguarding - I am duty bound to keep people safe and if an adult or child is at risk of harm then I will talk to the client to see how someone can be kept safe.


Legal Responsibilities - I am legally bound to share information relating to criminal activity. If a client talks to me about such things as exploitation, extremism, trafficking, money laundering etc., I have a legal duty to share this information with the appropriate authorities.


Clinical Supervision - as a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) I abide and work with their Ethical Framework. I am expected to have regular clinical supervision during which I may talk about my client work. This is non-identifiable and is in place to ensure I am working to the high standards set by the BACP.


I will verbalise all of the conditions of confidentiality at the start of a client’s first session and during this time I will check that the client is comfortable with the boundaries of confidentiality.

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