Counselling Assessment. || What To Expect.

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Initial Counselling Assessment: What To Expect.

Now, i'm going to try my very hardest not to tar the experience with a negative brush, because if you're already scared or concered over what to expect, it won't help, but personally, I really don't think going counselling will help or benefit the way I feel so, obviously, my experience wasn't the best. However, I don't regret going, as I at least know what to expect now, and who knows, it might really help me!

I had been waiting for an 'assessment' counselling appointment since November. In November, I think i'd have got a lot out of counselling. I was depressed, miserable and unable to cope with the way I  felt. Yet, i'm not in that same place anymore. I feel much happier and i've really learnt to cope with events causing my upset and the feelings and emotions surrounding that, sort of. I acknowledge I probably have a way to go to feel  the way I did before however.  The very long wait meant I  couldn't really do anything except be miserable and work through it myself, which I sort of did.

My first assessment didn't go ahead as I was given the wrong time, a helpful start! Thankfully I was given one two weeks later, which I nervously attended.

 It wasn't really what I expected at all, i'd been told it was my first appointment, and afterwards a series of 10 hour sessions would follow. However, after the assessment he told me there was another  3 month wait for another appointment!!

The room was odd as well, it wasn't held at my local doctors, and instead some doctors wedged behind the railway line. The must have kindly offered up a room,which was at the end of a very long corridor, next to the cleaning cupboard! The set up was exactly the same as if you'd have had a doctors appointment, an uncomfortable chair on the opposite side of a desk to the other individual. There were some cushions and throws neatly stacked in the corner. I guess to paint a 'homely' picture you'd expect from talking about your innermost feelings causing your upset.
 I asked if the set up for counselling sessions that were not assessments would be the same, which he said they would. How someone can be sat so formally at a desk with someone and expect to talk about the reasons they've not had a decent night sleep in forever and uncontrollably panic is beyond me. Weirdly, after asking me all the questions (which I'll get to in a minute) the guy then asked me if I'd be okay with him counselling me. Now, confrontation and saying he made you feel uncomfortable would be hard for most people, let alone someone there specifically cause they have depression.

The questions asked were really the typically expected questions, and nearly all of which i'd been asked before hand. There were the 'do you want to hurt yourself', 'do you take drugs/abuse alcohol' and 'are you in immediate danger' questions, and then there was the deeper ones.

I was asked outright what was upsetting us. I'm pretty sure my grandads death is what triggered off the way i'm feeling, and he made me talk about that, how it made me feel and what parts of it upset me, which was slightly uncomfortable, but it's needed to progress.

Negative feelings, coping mechanisms, behaviours that concern me, support networks and my childhood were also explored. I said I had a pretty 'normal' childhood, he made me explain normal to him, how many siblings I had etc. He also took a lot of notes about my life. Asking me where I was from (not local-student), how often I go home, what i'm studying, what my plans are etc.

Near the end, a question of 'life traumas' was asked, out right you're asked if you've experienced any traumatic life events, mainly so they can assign you to an appropriate counsellor and to address the traumas you might have faced. It was a bit direct though, but obviously needed if it applies.

One thing I really liked is that once he knew what course I study, Psychology, he didn't 'dumb' down certain things, and explained a lot of the way I was feeling to me in biological terms, which I did find reassuring.

The final part was filling in some questionaires. One to see how much of a risk you are to yourself and others (charming!), and two others to measure anxiety and depression.

No part of the counselling was particular traumatic, it just really did not feel comfortable or that I was going to benefit from it. He said he felt counselling was appropriate for me, so obviously I respect his opinion and i will stick with it despite my concerns. I just really hope my next appointment is at a more comfortable or appealing centre.

1 comment on "Counselling Assessment. || What To Expect."
  1. I'm really sorry you didn't have a good experience of it! I was referred to a counseller when I was 13 but It wasn't like you've described at all so I wonder if it was due to my age? Stick with it hopefully it will be worth it. In the mean time if you ever do want to vent/rant to a complete stranger drop me an email :)



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