Counselling · Psychotherapy · CBT · Mindfulness · Art Therapy · Compassion
Carbury, Co. Kildare · Tels: 0873977828 / 0862272917
Free Initial Consultation
"And suddenly you know…
it's time to start something new
and trust the magic of beginnings"
Why a free consultation?
Starting psychotherapy can be a little scary, or maybe you are not sure if this is the type of service you need, or if I am the person that you will feel comfortable with. The free consultation is an opportunity to meet me face to face for a full hour, where you can ask any questions you might have, and see if you would feel comfortable opening up to me, without having to make any commitment. A bit like trying on a pair of shoes! It is also an opportunity for me to do a formal assessment, find out exactly what the person needs and explain how I work. I put people under absolutely no pressure to make a second appointment, and offer them the choice to leave and take time to decide or shop around first.
My own personal experience when looking for a therapist in the past was that you had to pay for a full session when meeting them for the first time, and a few times I even felt pressurised to have to commit there and then to six weekly sessions from the very beginning and sign a contract. This was hard at the time as I was vulnerable and had low confidence, so I did not feel I could say no, and then ended up cancelling by text (after having paid full fee for an hour I felt I got nothing out of). Whereas I understand and fully respect that people making a living from therapy like myself are totally entitled to be paid for their time, this experience led me to offering the initial free meeting. I feel that people coming to the first session are often very nervous, and in a vulnerable state.
If you are thinking of booking for the free consultation, maybe it's your first time ever trying something like this and you might have a lot questions about the whole process and how it works or maybe you've done this before and want to begin again with a different person, for whatever reason. Either way, feel free to text, call or email if you have any questions before you decide whether you want to book an appointment.
What exactly happens?
The initial meeting lasts about an hour and is completely free of charge. What happens is up to you. After perhaps looking at our details on the website, you can meet with either Antonia or Damien and ask any questions you might have (about our training, working style, how the sessions work, etc.), or we can give you a formal assessment (where we ask you what you want to get from therapy, ask you to complete a questionnaire that measures distress and get a little of your history), or you can do both! You decide. You don't have to do anything that feels uncomfortable or answer any questions you don't want to.
What kind of questions will I be asked if I decide to get assessed in the free consultation?
We will first ask you to complete a questionnaire that measures your current level of emotional/psychological distress. It takes 3-4 minutes to complete and you do this by yourself by writing down your own answers, and we will score up the results afterwards. The questionnaire we use is widely recognised and was developed in the UK. It is used in the psychological therapies in the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and other places in Europe. The purpose of filling in this questionnaire is so that we can get a clear idea of exactly where you are at when you arrive, and also to get a sense of what areas of your life might need most attention at the moment. If you decide to begin therapy, we will be asking you to complete the same questionnaire every few sessions, so that we can see whether the level of distress is receding or nor (this helps us evaluate whether the work we are doing is working or not). Other questions you will be asked in the free initial consultation are: whether you have received therapy before, if so what worked and what didn't, whether you are taking any medication, whether you are attending any other services at the moment or nor (psychiatrist, psychologist, group meetings, etc.), what your symptoms are and when they started, to tell us a bit about your personal/family history, etc. Again, you don't have to answer any question that you don't feel comfortable with.
What happens after the initial consultation is over?
You do not have to decide whether you want to start therapy with us or not there and then. Hopefully after the meeting you will have a clearer idea of what kind of therapy is offered, what typically happens in a session, what it feels like to talk to one of us, whether you feel we can help you or not, etc. We put no pressure at all on you after the consultation to start therapy, as we believe it is crucial to find a therapist you feel comfortable with and to shop around until you find the right person. Some people are certain they wan to begin after the first meeting, so we make an appointment there and then and work out a therapy plan. Other people are not sure, so they leave and have a think about it, or meet other therapists to "shop around" - We would really encourage this! And other people know after the meeting that the service we offer is not for them, so they never return and that is okay. Sometimes, either myself or Damien might feel that the service we offer is not suitable for what you need, and then we can give you the name of either another service or another more suitable therapist in the area.After the initial questionnaire, I will ask you questions such as: if you have received therapy before, whether you are on medication, a little about your personal history, to tell me more about the problem that has brought you hear, how long you have been struggling with it, what has
What happens with my information if, after leaving, I think about it and decide not to start?
If you decide to get assessed, and after the consultation want to take some time to think about whether you want to begin or not, we will hold on to the forms for two weeks. If we don't hear from you after two weeks, we will shred all the information you gave me in the assessment, including the questionnaire. If, after the consultation, you us me know that you don't want to go ahead, we shred all the information we have written down immediately.
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