First Counselling Session: What to Expect


It’s important to us that you’re comfortable with your counselling experience. The purpose of this first session is for you to discuss with your counsellor what’s been going on for you and how it’s affecting your life.

When you first contact us, we’ll try our best to respond within 24 hours and set up an appointment. This is a great time to ask questions or voice concerns you have about the process.

During your first appointment, you’ll work with your counsellor to complete a full intake assessment including:

  • Informed Consent Form – which outlines your rights as a client and our legal and ethical boundaries as counsellors.
  • Intake Questionnaire – which will ask you for your contact information and a brief description of the issues you’re struggling with.

By the end of the session, your counsellor will have outlined therapeutic goals with you, and what to expect when addressing the concerns you are struggling with.


The counsellor/client relationship is a highly confidential one and s/he will not deliver reports or discuss what you talk over with him/her with anyone outside of the office without your approval. Respect for the individual and confidentiality are very important and we wish to assure you that the matters you bring here will not be discussed elsewhere. There are situations, however, where counsellors are legally required to disregard confidentiality. Specifically, if you reveal information that indicates a clear and immediate danger of injury to yourself or others or the abuse of a child, your counsellor will need to contact appropriate authorities. Counsellors are also required to release records if subpoenaed by a court order.

There are benefits and risks to the counselling process. Counselling may involve the risk of remembering unpleasant events and may arouse strong feelings. Benefits of counselling may be an increased ability to live more effectively by improving your ability to cope with life pressures, family relationships and friends. You may also gain better understanding of yourself, your goals and values that will assist you in your personal and career growth.

Personal commitment to counselling is crucial for success. It is important that you be active, open and honest with your counsellor. Your most important task is to work toward the goals you and your counsellor have agreed upon. Seeing a counsellor will be of little benefit without additional effort outside the counselling office. This work can include thinking about the material covered in your sessions, monitoring the behaviours you want to change or working on specific assignments, such as keeping a journal, reading a book or article, or practising a new skill.