Your initial appointment
During your initial interview, the counsellor will ask you a variety of questions to make sure they get a good understanding of you and your presenting problem. If you are experiencing psychological difficulties (e.g., feeling depressed, stressed, anxious, fearful, ashamed, alone, hurt, rejected, suicidal, etc.), the counsellor will ask you about your symptoms (e.g., what are your symptoms, when did they start, how intense are they, how long have you had them, have you had them before, if so, what did you do to manage them, etc.), and about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours relating to those difficulties. The counsellor may also ask about your strengths and normal ways of coping and what your goals are for counselling. It is very likely that the counsellor will ask you for some background information, such as information about your studies and how they are progressing (e.g., what you’re studying, when you started, your results, whether you like the program, etc.), your current relationships (e.g., with family, friends, or others), support people, life commitments (e.g., children, work, etc.), living arrangements, medical history, and so on. To make sure that you receive the best support, it is important for the counsellor to gather as much relevant information as possible.
By the end of the initial interview you and your counsellor may decide on one of the following options:
- no further counselling is required at this time, if during the initial interview you have been able to clarify your concerns and plan an appropriate course of action
- further appointments are needed to continue to explore the issues before reaching a decision. A second appointment will be made with you either by the counsellor or by reception
- alternative services are appropriate and the counsellor will assist you to identify specific resources to consider and pursue and will make an appropriate referral.