What to expect when you call me to make an appointment with me?
Before starting counselling with me it is necessary to book an appointment. You cannot come to a therapy session without first making an appointment. The time which is appointed for your therapy is only for you, it's your time and you decide how you will use it; so please respect other clients’ time for therapy and don’t come to the office without first arranging an appointment.
You have decided to call to make an appointment with me: for most people, the hardest part is now, that first phone call. I thought it would be helpful to let you know what ought to happen when you call. This might reduce your anxiety about the unknown. It also gives you an additional means to get to know your counsellor. In your very first phone call, you will probably encounter either an answering machine or (if I am not having a session with a client) myself. If you’re leaving a message, you don't need to explain the reason for your call, but you need to leave the following information:
That you want to talk to the counsellor, your name and telephone number, and when is the best time to call you back.
I should call you within a few hours, certainly the same day (unless you have called me in the evening, in which case I may return the call the following morning).
When I call you back, ideally, the following should happen.
I will introduce myself and I would ask you what was the reason for phoning. At the end of our conversation you may decide to make an appointment. I will suggest a day and time no more than a week away, but you can discuss the most convenient days and times. You might need to be flexible here; as I may be quite busy.
However, if you would like to see me urgently, please say so. I will explain how to find my office, you confirm the appointment, say goodbye and hang up.
The first contact is for the sole purpose of arranging an appointment as soon as reasonably possible. Everything else is superfluous at this point and should be left until the first session (the exception being that you should make clear any emergencies, such as suicidal feelings or acute personal crises). There may be some need for working out difficulties related to the appointment, but I will not ask you lots of questions or get into an extended conversation. I will let you know how much the session will cost. If I can't offer you an appointment within a reasonable amount of time, I will give you one or more alternative phone numbers for other counsellors.