I am currently training as a counsellor. I am in the second year of a three-year course at the Psychosynthesis Trust. As part of the training we have to conduct a one-hour session with a volunteer to practice the process of carrying out an initial assessment of a new client who has come to us for therapy. The volunteer has to be someone we do not know, so that the situation resembles a 'real' session between a therapist and a client as closely as possible.
The purpose of the session is for the trainee therapist - me! - to find out things about the 'client' that will enable me to take the first steps towards understanding her/his/their circumstances and history and the issues or questions that bring the person to therapy; and to form an initial view on how to approach therapy - what the most important issues are and how to explore them. To do this, I will ask the 'client' questions about things like their life as it is now - work, relationships, etc; their family of origin and childhood experiences; their wider context - e.g. culture and country of origin (if applicable); and their ambitions and hopes for the future.
In other words, this is a 'fact-finding' session, not a therapy session. It is not intended to answer all the questions you might have about your own life - or life in general! Nonetheless, it will give you a flavour of what it might be like to work with a therapist. If you are curious about therapy or counselling, the session might help you to decide whether to take your interest forward in a 'formal' sense, i.e. to contact a therapist. I will be happy to provide some suggestions for how you might do this.
As part of my training I will discuss the session in a small group of three fellow students and a supervisor. The 'client's' identity will not be disclosed. Nothing that is discussed in the session with the 'client' will be disclosed to anyone outside this supervision group. It also goes without saying that during the practice session, the 'client' will have complete freedom to decline to answer any question with which they are not comfortable.
Before we conduct the session we will sign a contract covering matters such as confidentiality, the fact that this is a single session only and not a continuing relationship, that no payment is involved, etc.
Before starting this training I spent over thirty years working in sustainability in the NGO and private sectors. For twenty years I worked in the investment industry: for an asset manager, a pension fund, an international investor network, and on a freelance basis. I now feel strongly drawn to working directly with people to support them to explore questions and challenges they face in their lives, and to find the paths and solutions that work best for them. You can find out more about my background here.
To volunteer, or to find out more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 07398 191031.