Why is the initial consultation so important? What factors will an Ethical
Therapist face at this time?
In this essay, I will be looking at the ethical issues that face therapists in relation to the first consultation with a client. I will also explore the process of how and why the therapist gathers any relevant information during this consultation to suit the needs of both therapist and client. I will look closely at the benefits and contra indications of having this first consultation and why it is so important for both parties ...view middle of the document...
It is at this time that the therapist’s actions and communications be in keeping and appropriate and that the therapist must gage each and every client’s demeanor and behave accordingly. For example, if you as the therapist were to open the door to greet a client with a very bouncy, melancholy over friendly approach, and the client is particularly shy and withdrawn, you are more than likely to have an adverse effect making the client less suggestible, more anxious and less likely to open up about the reasons for their coming. It could be argued however that to be the opposite would also make it difficult for a client to open up about their inner most thoughts if the therapist is very polka faced and without much expression.
First impressions are vitally important to paving the way for successful therapy. Naturally it is as important to have a pleasant and calm environment in which to offer therapy as this will be deemed professional and instill confidence in clients. Two chairs angled next to one another is recommended. Anything too square on or in too close a proximity will be off- putting and could make the client feel uneasy so early on. What the therapist does not want to do is to provoke thoughts or memories that a client may intemperate as negative. This could be done in all manner of ways including scents and smells, music, décor that may be too clinical, for example a white starkly bright room with a therapist bed in placed centrally and no softening's of their surroundings at all. People have individually acquired tastes and what suits one may well not suit the other. Appearances are always important when in a position of professionalism. A safe and sensible option is to dress in a 'smart casual' way. Suits and formal dress may look authoritarian and daunting to some members of society and would therefore begin on an uneven footing. To dress similarly for each meeting will help your client in 'picking up where he/she left off last time' and will assist in building the trust and rapport much needed in making therapy a success.
When your client is comfortable, introduction of both client and therapist have been made, various questions must be asked. It should be established very early on whether or not the initial consultation is free or not. This is down to the discretion of the therapist but whatever is decided should be written into a contract so that both parties are fully aware of where they stand. Arguably it can be viewed that 'free' sessions will be taken advantage of and seen as 'something for nothing' on the other hand, there are many pros of a free consultation. These include: meeting face to face and assessing suitability for your area of expertise, gaining a better understanding of their background, dynamics, family situation and most importantly finding out about the clients health and current medication. It is vitally important to know what medication or treatments the client is taking to know whether or not this client...