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Assessment: Initial Consultation And Assessing Suitability with Anna Bravesmith

5 hours CPD

In this workshop we will explore how to think about the suitability of the psychotherapist or counsellor’s approach for a new client attending for an initial consultation. The purpose of an assessment is to consider both how, and whether, we can work with an individual in a beneficial way. Some individuals may need sign-posting to other more relevant services. Some show a particular need for simple supportive work, yet others show they can use challenging, interpretive work. It is also a space where we can gather the narrative presented into a meaningful history, asking questions where necessary, and gain awareness of any symptoms, previous treatments and medications that may have been prescribed by a G.P. or psychiatrist.

Interpersonal issues including past and current relationships, or their comparative absence need to be explored at assessment. We will discuss how best to achieve this in a style that also builds rapport with the new client and indicates the therapist’s interest, rather than seeming to be intrusive. One aspect of the assessment session is that it includes a space where the client is invited to ask the therapist questions about their professional outlook and background or about what the process of psychotherapy will be like. It can also be valuable to ask whether the client has had a recent dream which can be shared and considered together; often this reveals some unconscious anxieties or hopes about starting therapy.

Initial consultations usually lead to forming a contract for the therapy work and we will explore ways to do this and what to include.