laptop on a couch in a bright room

You’ve made the decision to start counselling. Congratulations! That’s a major decision and a powerful step in the direction of health and healing.

Now that you’ve made this decision, you may be thinking “what next?” I hope this post helps answer that question, and calms any nerves you may have before your first appointment.

Before I begin — Hi, I’m Taylor. I’m a therapist living in Victoria, BC’s Westshore region, offering counselling services to clients across Victoria, Saanich, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, and Sooke, and I have clients as far as Duncan and Jordan River. I’m grateful to support individuals and couples across the South Island.

What to Expect BEFORE Counselling

Before your first therapy session, you’ll receive an intake form through Jane App (my online health record and scheduling system). The intake form collects basic information, covers several areas of informed consent, and asks questions to understand more about what brought you to counselling.

It’s important you fill out the basic questionnaire and consents, however, you can leave blank any of extended questionnaire. We can always cover them together in counselling.

I also present the counsellor and client agreement, borrowed from Rachael Maddox of Rebloom, to set the stage for your therapeutic container. It’s my goal to help you feel safe and supported before we even begin our work together. Below is an excerpt from the counsellor and client agreement:

We both agree to:

  • Come on time to our sessions
  • Make space for every and anything that wants healing to come forward
  • Be honest and brave
  • Stay through difficulty
  • Repair if rupture occurs
  • Prioritize safety and stability
  • Bring forth any concerns that may be in service to the health, learning and well-being of the client

I would love to know, what would you add or take out of the above?

Before your first session, it’s normal to feel nervous. We’re sitting down together for the first time, it’s natural to feel hesitant when meeting someone new, especially if we’re entering a relationship where you’re likely going to share some pretty personal stuff. I want you to know that I welcome all of you, and while your story and experience is unique, there’s not a whole lot I haven’t heard before.

What to Expect DURING Counselling

Ahh, you’ve made it your first session! Whether meeting virtually or in-person in Victoria, BC (in Langford, smack-dab in the middle of Westshore), most of the session will be the same. However, there will be a few key differences.

VIRTUALLY: If you’ve scheduled an online therapy appointment, the good news is that you get to experience counselling in the comfort of your own home. It can be helpful to find a quiet, comfortable space. Animals and young children are welcome (ideally, children under the age of 2 — we do want to focus on you, after all).

Prior to your appointment, you’ll receive a Zoom link to access your session. Upon logging on, you’ll be placed into a “waiting room.” I’ll let you in on the hour.

IN-PERSON: Lucky you, you’re located in Victoria, BC or any of the surrounding areas. My office is located in the municipality of Langford, BC where I see clients in-person in the Westshore shopping area. More specially, my office is a part of Yoga Lab Westshore’s Wellness Lab. When you arrive, you’ll wait anywhere on the main floor — there’s lots of seating. On the hour, I’ll come get you and we’ll go upstairs into one of two cozy rooms. Unfortunately, my office is not wheelchair accessible at this time.

During your first appointment, we’ll review the intake form and move through a series of questions, also known as a biopsychosocial assessment. Biopsychosocial assessments cover several areas (biological, psychological, and sociological) intended to explore you and your experience from multiple perspectives, to help me understand how to best support you.

If you’ve been to therapy before, I know the first session can feel frustrating — it’s tiring telling our story to multiple professionals. Please be patient with the process, I promise that the intake and assessment is important.

What to Expect AFTER Counselling

Woo! You attended your first therapy appointment! No matter what came up in your first session — be it tears, laughter, new insight, or something else — I hope you recognize what a big deal it is to seek support. It’s a big deal!

After counselling, it’s common to feel tired. I mean really tired. Exploring the emotional layers of our experience is taxing for the brain, and requires a lot of energy. I always encourage clients to take extra care of themselves after therapy. Maybe that’s drinking extra water, having a nap, or spending time outside. Whatever it is for you, I hope you acknowledge what an accomplishment it is to start counselling.

What to Expect in Counselling: Your First Appointment