In this video I will describe how I take on a new client. While I feel that I am able to help a large range of client-types, I have refused to take on somebody that I do not think I am a good fit for. In those cases, I don’t just drop them but also try to find them somebody else to work with.
Before I take on a new client, I first want to make sure that I am the right person to help them. Typically I will talk with their parent or parents on the phone for about 10-15 minutes. If I feel that I might be of help and they agree, the next step normally is for me to meet their child. Because the most important part of therapy is the bond between the counsellor and client, I offer a no charge 30 minute consultation (either in person or by phone) so my potential client can have a chance to talk to me and see what I am like.
In this initial contact, I try to find out what they are looking to achieve in counselling and also the things that they do for fun. This is critically important, as I believe any improvements that they will experience are likely based on things that they already enjoy doing.
As well, I describe to my new client the clinical approach that I use – CBT as well as mindfulness and DBT. Not only will I describe it to them, I will also draw it out so they can see how it works. I find that this helps people who are more visual to also understand. After I explain my approach I ask them if they think that it is something they are willing to try. If yes great. If no, then I will use a different approach.
As therapy progresses I use humour and active listening quite a bit. This is to help my client feel at ease and also make sure that I am focused on what they are saying. It is important to note that anything that we do is voluntary and completely confidential so my clients know that they are in a safe place.