What to expect from your first therapy session

Often the most worrying thing about attending a private therapy session is wondering what it’s all about. And guess what, you could be surprised at how easy it is.

So, you’ve researched the local therapists, chosen one, made the appointment, and now you’re waiting …

Meeting your therapist for the first time is about building the therapeutic relationship. He or she wants to find out what you want help working on and plan a way to do this together. They are not there to judge you, mind-read you or second-guess you.

When you come to see me my clinic is at my home, I send you the address and directions and where you can park (there are no parking restrictions and spaces are always available). I’ll answer the door and the therapy room is the first left in the hall. You won’t see anyone else and you don’t have to walk through my home.

The therapy room doubles as an office, one side has a desk and office bits, the window side has soft chairs, (no couch or sofa), and we’ll sit here, opposite each other to enable an honest conversation about you. I’ll ask you why you have come, what outcome you are looking for and various other questions relating to either the issue you have or the solution you are seeking.

Our discussion is just like a proper conversation, it’s two-way, not just me ‘aha’-ing and ‘um’-ing, I’m not tying to catch you out, or trip you up, but my questions will possibly challenge you to really think about things and guide you to look at things in a different way. Although it seems like a chat, you’ll be doing more work than you realise.

Don’t let the term ‘hypnotherapy’ bother you. Really, it’s just like a personalised guided meditation, in layman’s terms it’s a conversation with your unconscious mind that bypasses the conscious part (that bit that keeps you in the loop of your issue). You’ll be asked to close your eyes (there are no swinging watches or staring at spots on the wall), some people will open their eyes, some might need to move to get comfortable, some might need to cough, or sneeze… none of that matters. Some people worry about whether or not they can be hypnotised, or if they ‘went deep enough’, again, each person is different. I tend to work with people in a light trance state, so ‘deepness’ isn’t an issue. You should reach a relaxed state where you are unbothered by any other noises you hear. All you’ll be doing is listening, and sometimes answering the questions I ask. You may even find that your mind wanders, and that’s okay, it’s what you take in unconsciously rather than rationally that makes the difference. It’s an odd sort of myth that hypnosis is mind control or getting you to make a fool out of yourself. All that stage stuff is set up to enable the extroverts who want to be stars of the show, be just that. You won’t do anything that goes against your core values and you can’t be ‘stuck’ in a hypnotic trance (all inductions bring you back to full awareness at the end, or if you are listening to an induction and fall asleep, you will wake up when you are ready to anyway).

A lot of the time the hypnosis bit is the smallest part of the session. Most of it will be talking about you and your history. You’ll learn about human behaviour, thought patterns and how to interrupt or diminish unhelpful ways of thinking. Ironically, more of our work is about ‘de-hypnotising’ you from your problems, learning tools and techniques that you can use easily and discreetly in your day-to-day life. There’s a saying that most of the therapy happens between sessions, as you become better equipped to deal with what is going on in your head.

When and why you choose to come to see me is also your decision. For some people it’s the end of a long journey exploring different forms of therapy, sometimes people come because they have had success in the past, or know of someone else who has been. Sometimes it just feels right. Whether you come for therapy or for coaching is your decision, there’s no magic wand, but my role is to guide you in a way that suits you, providing a bespoke treatment plan and individualised support from start to finish. Don’t worry about how you will come across; some people are quiet to start with, some people will cry in the session. It’s all natural forms of human emotion and how you react is right for you at that time. There are no wrong ways to be you.

When you come to see me I’m not looking at you as a ‘phobia’ client, a ‘weight loss’ client or an ‘anxiety’ client, no two people do their problem in the same way. I’ll explain to you how the mind forms links that can become unhelpful in our lives, those links were put in place to protect us, and often they do a very good job but they now infringe on areas that cause problems. You might not be aware of the root of the problem, often people aren’t. We can work with that and help you to ‘reset’ the bits that are no longer unhelpful.

I’ve had people say that therapy is expensive, that depends on your priorities. As a session cost, it’s more expensive than other complementary therapies, but those sessions are often for a quarter of the time. Some hypnotherapists have a list of scripts dependent on the issue presented, i.e. a confidence script, a trauma script, an eating disorder script… our scripts are tailored to you, and amongst others, we use elements of EFT, Schema Therapy, NLP, Eye Movement Therapy and Gestalt Therapy. Look up Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy to see what it’s all about. QCH is tailored to get you to where you choose to be in the shortest time possible. And that can work out a lot cheaper in the long run.

At the end of your first session we will have a chat about how you have found things and work out together what we do next. People often find they are tired after the session, if you think about it, you may have initially been apprehensive, then during the session your thought processes have had a good workout, it’s no wonder you’ll notice it. It’s a bit like shaking up a snow globe; things have been stirred up but settle quickly. Settling into a place that creates a firmer, strengthened base for your future, becoming the you, you chose to be.

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