Arranging Counselling for the First Time.

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So, you’d like to meet with Dean Richardson for private counselling, and this is your first time?

You’re nervous. Perhaps thinking: “oh shit, why am I even thinking I need to go and talk about this with someone”. You don’t know what the counsellor will do to you, or tell you that you’re not ready to hear. Maybe you’re feeling out of control, and the counsellor will just make things worse.

Would it help to learn that all you and Dean would do is talk?

Conversation. That’s all.

You’ll be in the driving seat, you’ll decide in which direction Dean and you begin, and Dean will learn from you, follow you, both building a working relationship together. Dean would become your assistant, helping you see the wood for the trees… and sometimes assisting by challenging your way of thinking/behaving (in case you missed discovering a “tree” that might help you grow out of your difficulty) .

Here are some steps intended to help you focus on beginning counselling with Dean Richardson.

Firstly, consider these important points:

  1. Does Dean’s counselling approach seem right for you?
  2. Could you attend weekly appointments (the same time, same day and same location) from one of these available time? (see appointments table)
  3. Would you be able to afford Dean Richardson’s weekly private counselling fees?

If you reply “NO“, then Dean Richardson may not be the right counsellor for you. It might be right for you to consider alternative counsellors listed on, say: Counselling Directory.

If you reply “YES” , then read the following steps…

Appointments:

Couples & Individuals (Havant, Hampshire)
Visit HavantCounselling.com
Mon:Long Waiting List
Tue:Not Available
Wed:1pm or 3pm
Thu:6pm-8pm
Fri:Not Available
Video (Skype/Hangouts)
Tue:Fully booked

Waiting lists may be available for unlisted times.

Five Steps to Counselling.

STEP ONE: which form of counselling are you interested in?

STEP TWO: Take note of the session fee (see this page).

STEP THREE: Take note of which weekly session days and times are available.

STEP FOUR: Get in contact (using the contact form) to tell me when you’d like to meet for an initial, no obligation to continue, session.

STEP FIVE: if the appointment you prefer is still available, I’ll reserve it for us. I’ll also ask you to send a £30 deposit (payable online, using this page) to secure our first session. Otherwise, we’ll discuss a different day and time.

Once your deposit is received, I will confirm our first session.

NOTE: no deposit is needed for subsequent sessions. You just pay as you go.

Your Rights in Counselling.

Things that you might not know you’re entitled to in counselling, and how I provide my counselling service.

Your rights to privacy and confidentiality

As a counsellor, I commit to holding your confidence and protecting your privacy. This means:-

  • We will meet in a secure location where you may talk freely with me.
  • I will not discuss our work with anyone (such as I will not discuss our work online in publicly-accessible forums (such as Facebook groups for counsellors), nor with my friends nor colleagues).
  • Should your partner, parent, sibling, offspring or best mate contact me to say “Hi, I know John is in counselling with you, and I wanted to ask…” then for ethical reasons around your privacy and confidentiality, I will decline to give any information. Odd as it may seem to you, I will also decline to give information about anyone even if I’m not working with the person in question (as to acknowledge or deny that I’m working with someone would also be an unethical breach of someone’s privacy somewhere).

However, there are two exceptions to these matters:-

  1. As I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, one of my commitments to you is to seek a regular consultation on my work. This consultation is funded by me, and is with an experience consultant (sometimes called a counselling supervisor – although “supervisor” is not meant to imply that the person is in charge of me in any way). I will discuss my work with my choice of supervisor, which may include my work with you from time to time, but I will choose a supervisor who does not know you personally nor professionally.
  2. If you tell me of your intention to commit an act of violence or break the law, such as planning to plant a bomb, causing harm to others (especially children) or even harm to yourself, I may not be allowed by law to tell you that I am contacting the appropriate bodies (a process sometimes called “whistle blowing”). If you are unsure about discussing something with me that may be legally sensitive, it may be best to consult a legally-trained person beforehand.
Your Rights to my Competency.
You have a right to work with a competent counsellor, and to support that commitment to my competency I seek additional training and development every year (a minimum of 30 hours; quite often more) that enhances my original counselling qualifications.

This process, known as continual professional development (or “CPD”) is at my expense, and I choose which development I am in need of based upon my client work. This may, or may not, cover subjects that you’re discussing with me in counselling, as CPD is for my benefit primarily and it would be unlikely that I would discuss, or seek your input, into my CPD choices.

By taking this approach, I commit to keeping a level of competency so that you are able to work through your personal matters in counselling.

Should I find that we are working with matters that I feel incompetent to work with, I may discuss with you about us bringing our work to a close so that you may transfer to a counsellor more suitable for the subjects you wish to work through.

A right to a real, supportive and frank relationship

Over my 18+ years as a counsellor, I’ve found that people value real, authentic relationships… with everyone. Of course, some of your friends may not point out that problem that they’ve always been aware to you, and people who meet you may never mention how you behave towards them…

… but ours will be a frank relationship; supportive to your needs, but also revealing to you matters that you’re ready to discover about yourself, in as real-but-tolerable was as we can manage together.

I won’t be “blowing smoke up your ass”, though 🙂

Meaning: I won’t tell you everything is all smelling-of-roses… when it isn’t. Truth can help you with your autonomy and relationships with others than being fed continual falsity.

So, as this would be a real relationship, albeit professional, sometimes things go astray, as they can do in any relationship. And should they do, it will become important to own your own feelings and experience in order to bring them up with me in a future session. Whilst it may seem the right thing to do is to abandon the process by no longer appearing for sessions, or emailing your dissatisfaction and terminating our agreement to work together in an angry rage (and if you do, I will support your decision to do so), it may be more helpful to you in the longer run to be able to trust in the process with us together … just enough … to discuss the problems with me so that we might understand the painful difficulties together, and work towards a resolution together.

For some people, this could be the first time they’ve experienced true authenticity from another person… and it could be scary. But trust and alliance with another human being can bring relief too.

My Behaviour when you Get in Contact with me
Email.

When you email me (either through my contact page or directly to my email address), I aim to respond within 2 working days.

If I don’t hear back from you from my email, I may email again (making an assumption that my email was not received due to an known technical fault) but I will also respect what may be appear to be your decision to stop with further correspondence. with me. In other words, after my second email I won’t continue emailing you as if I am demanding your reply. Such behaviour could be seen as abusive on my part.

You are free to email me again if you have not heard from me.

Telephone.

I do not offer a telephone counselling service, and although I offer a telephone number (02392 987487) to leave messages I choose not to participate in telephone conversations. I will correspond with you (or you and your partner simultaneously for couples counselling) via email on such matters as making appointments.

My telephone answering service’s outgoing message reiterates this.

If being able to hold conversations with your counsellor using the telephone is important, I suggest you will find multiple alternatives on directories such as Counselling Directory.

How long will your counselling be?
I offer a flexible “open-ended” counselling service and, sometimes if we both agree, a set number of sessions.

Working open ended doesn’t mean that we are committing to working together for years. Instead, it allows us the ability to unpack matters together until we have done enough.

In other words, our counselling work together will last just one session… at a time.

Either you or I may bring up the idea of us beginning to bring our counselling work to a close, and we’ll have conversations like this so that counselling is ended in the best way for you.

Weekly fee (minimum)
My work with you will be (at a minimum) weekly, most often the same day, time and location.

Sometimes, after a discussion which either of us may bring up, we may agree to meet more than once a week.

I do not work with new clients any less regularly than weekly (ie fortnightly, monthly etc) as my experience shows that this can simply be a waste of money; the time between each session being insufficiently efficacious.

I do not offer ad-hoc sessions (e.g. contacting me when you feel you wish to talk over something with a counsellor).

You may also not contact me in between sessions (e.g. emailing me to discuss something that you want to talk about urgently). You may contact me to rearrange the next session, for example. If you feel that you may wish a counselling service “on demand”, there will be other counsellors who offer ad hoc/on-demand counselling.

Sessions are payable on the day of the session (cash, cheque, bank transfer or card (small 3%-4% admin fee added for processing card payments, no admin fee for cash, cheque nor bank transfer).

Why I ask for a £30 Deposit
When you make an initial appointment with me, I will be making a number of commitments to you (preparing for our assessment, booking & paying for rooms, travelling to our agreed location).

In return, I ask you to make a financial commitment to me in the form of sending a refundable £30 deposit.

Your deposit is:-

  • Is payable a week before our first session using my secure online payments service.
  • If you cancel our first session with at least 2 days notice, I will refund your deposit in full.
  • If you cancel with 2-or-fewer days notice (or do not turn up for the session) your deposit covers my costs.

Your deposit is subtracted from our first session’s fee (so, individual counselling at £45 per session, deposit of £30, leaves £15 to be paid to me on the day).

If we agree to continue working together after the first session, subsequent sessions are payable in full on the day of the session (cash, cheque, bank transfer or credit/debit card (plus small 3%-4% admin fee to process card payments).

I Choose who I Work with.
As a private practice counsellor, I choose who I wish to work with.

Usually this will be with everyone I meet for the initial assessment, but for those for whom I judge myself to be unsuitable (e.g. if your email makes requests of me that I am unable or unqualified to provide) I will decline to meet with you, and will aim to express why I have chosen this decision.

Similarly, if you meet with me for couple counselling and your partner leaves, the couple counselling service is then ended (by the absent partner). I will not automatically offer you individual counselling, but may offer you a small number of sessions so that we might bring the couple counselling work to a close (albeit with the absent partner). You are free to continue counselling with another counsellor, should you wish to then work on individual subjects. It is likely I will decline to work with you as an individual following the end of couple counselling (as I may not be able to hold a neutral position that benefits you as an individual, having previously worked with your relationship in counselling).

Counselling is not a compulsory service, and you are free to choose from others counsellors

You are free to Choose who you Work with.
Counselling is not a compulsory service.

If you do not like the counsellor you’re working with (eg me) you are welcome to discuss this with me in session (as it may be a matter that is being transferred from a past relationship).

If, after discussing matters with me, you are unsatisfied, you are free to cancel working with me further.

For more information, please click through to my Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Got a question about Dean Richardson's counselling services in Havant (Hampshire)? Want to make contact, maybe asking about a first appointment? Send Dean a message any time…

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