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Why is the initial consultation so important? What factors will an ethical therapist cover at this time?
In this essay I am going to look at why the initial consultation is so important for both the client and the therapist and how much you can get from just the first meeting. I will also look at all the factors that will contribute to being an ethical therapist from confidentiality, to knowing whether it is a case that you can look at or need to refer on. The initial consultation will probably be one of the most important sessions of all. This session will form the basis of the whole therapy and help it to be a success for the client. There are certain steps the therapist needs to take to make sure that the client is going to benefit from the whole therapy and this can be looked at in the initial consultation.
The initial consultation should not last any more than an hour and in this time you can do all the fact finding you need to do about the client and then towards the end of the session do a PMR with them just so they get a feel of what will happen in future sessions. Some therapists choose to do a free consultation lasting around half an hour where they can get them to fill in the consultation form, get information about what they have come to see you for etc. The only issue with this is it is taking up your time, which you could be using for another patient who is paying and people may only come because they see the word ‘free’ and not come back again.
If you are going to work with the client, whether you do a free consultation or not, you are going to have to build up a rapport with them quite quickly so they feel safe and uncomfortable to talk about issues, which they may have never spoken about before. There must be a mutual respect. When they first arrive they are likely to be feeling anxious and have many mixed emotions, so as a therapist you need to make them feel at ease. The client may have fears, misconceptions and questions about hypnotherapy so the is a perfect time to speak to them about this and explain what hypnosis is and how it will work for them. A lot of people see what happens on the television and think this is what will happen to them. You can talk to them about these misconceptions and fears to help them feel at ease and feel safe with you. The client may also think that they are not in control when under hypnosis, again this is something that can be explained to them and you can make them fully aware they are in total control.
As I have said above one of the biggest things that you will need to do in the initial consultation is build up a rapport with the client. Once you have built a rapport with the client they will find it easier to open up to you. If you don’t build this rapport up with them they may not feel comfortable to talk to you or trust you and they will not return again. There are many ways in which you can build up a rapport with the client. I will discuss these now.
First impressions are everything so you need to make sure the environment that you will work in is safe and comfortable for them. ‘A person will make assumptions about you using their deductive logic based on your appearance, your speech and you body language before they even try to get to know you, so it is both of your interests to act in a way that will get a good response’. (Chrysalis handout - Module 3)
To help to build rapport you must make sure you are actively listening to the client and maintain eye contact with them. You don’t want to be looking around the room when the client is talking to you. Make sure that there is no desk between you and the client and you are sat next to the person or side on. A desk between you can be like a barrier and not put the client at ease. Do not cross your arms and legs as that can come across as defensive which is not what you want to come across as. Try to sit up straight with an open posture. Don’t slouch as...
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