I usually suggest that we arrange an initial telephone conversation where we can discuss the sort of help you are looking for and we can think about the difficulties you would like to address. This is also a chance to ask any questions you might have. If it feels appropriate, we can then schedule an initial face-to-face consultation where we can discuss things in depth and consider further if therapy seem to be the right way forward.
Taking the decision to start therapy to address painful, often long-standing and deep-seated issues is an important commitment. Finding the right therapist with whom it feels possible to connect and whose style of working feels ‘right’ can take time. I therefore normally suggest to new clients that we meet for a number of sessions to get to know each other and to get a flavour of what it would be like working together before we make the shared decision to starting regular therapeutic work.
I do not normally set an end date to therapy, nor do I ask clients for a notice period if they wish to end the sessions. However, I do believe that it is important to think together and make a thoughtful decision about ending therapy so that we can spend the final sessions reviewing the progress and looking ahead to the future.
Some clients prefer from the onset to have an ending date in mind, either because they feel more comfortable about entering into a brief or time-limited psychotherapy or due to expected changes in external circumstances (relocating, pregnancy etc.) In my experience, it is helpful to discuss this from the outset so we can tailor the work accordingly.