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What you can expect to happen in counselling and psychotherapy

About the counselling / psychotherapy process

The initial consultation

Clipboard and pen.
During the initial consultation the client is more active and the psychotherapist or counsellor listens more and takes note of important background information.

The initial consultation lasts 75-90 minutes as a rule and is charged at my standard rate. More information about my fees, terms and conditions can be found here

I use the initial consultation to get to know you, your motivation for seeking out my services and any sources of difficulties which you are experiencing. The initial consultation is also there for you to get to know me as a professional person and to become acquainted with my style of working. It is clearly essential that we both believe that I can help you and that the atmosphere is one within which you feel safe and able to open up in.

The initial consultation is conducted as a structured conversation and usually touches on the topics listed below. Having said that I do not stick rigidly to this structure and allow for individual needs, particularly the need to have enough space to expand on specific concerns or wishes.

Topics for the initial consultation

Getting to know you

It is important for me to know you as a person, what sort of background you come from, how you form relationships with significant others and what interests you and generally makes you up as a unique individual. Who we are affects how we see are problems and it also presents unique opportunities for addressing life’s challenges. As every person is unique, every person has a uniques set of experience, knowledge, talents and skills. 

Defining the problem in concrete terms

It is important to identify and clearly define the main topics. Focus is important here in order to achieve change in a directed fashion. It is therefore also important to decide what should not be focussed on in counselling/psychotherapy and also what should not be changed. This is also an important consideration from the perspective that change sometimes brings with it (unwanted) side effects and you should be sure that you are prepared to live with the consequences, e.g. not everyone you come in to contact with will be happy about any personal changes you make, particularly if it means that things get more uncomfortable for them as a result!

Exploring your motivation for change

Motivation is essential to driving change. Without motivation change becomes a chance event or something that is enforced upon us by external circumstances. I therefore spend time on exploring the benefits of (not) changing with you and also the price which change or resisting change will exact from you (even if this is only in terms of time and energy). It is also worth investigating what you are prepared to do to contribute to change compared with what you are hoping other people will do to support you or fulfil you in your wishes.

An initial formulation of your goals

Often goals are formulated as a wish to get rid of something. Anxiety, anger, conflict etc. should be disposed of. This is understandable and at the same time it is important to know what should take their place and what freed up energy should be channelled into. A positively formulated goal that is attainable and measurable is also essential for measuring the success of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy processes.

Understanding your expectations

Closely linked to the goals of psychotherapy and counselling are your expectations for our work together. It is important that we discuss here your hopes and wishes as well as any ideas of how you would like us to work together. You may have prior experience of counselling and psychotherapy and it is useful for me to know what was helpful to you in the past as well as what you did not find so useful and should be avoided in our work together.

Exploration of resources, strengths and talents

Everyone has strengths, talents, skills and external sources of support that can be harnessed to find and implement new approaches to problems. Often when we find ourselves in a tight situation we lose sight of these resources and focus on the things which do not work, what we do not have and what we do not want. I place great value on exploring what does work, what is available, what is desirable and what hopes there are for the future. It is my experience that when we develop a resource and competence-oriented perspective of ourselves and our situations then solutions to problems start to present themselves as a natural response to this inner state.
Small coloured stones can be used to represent resources in therapy and coaching
Small coloured stones can be used to represent resources and strengths

The end of the initial consultation

At the end of the initial consultation we should both be in a position to start to evaluate whether further work together can provide a constructive outcome and contribute towards solving your issues. At this point I will give you a feedback on what I think I can do to do to help you and what the next steps might be here in terms of the process or treatment. It is then up to you to decide if you want to arrange a next appointment or not.

Follow-up Sessions and the Psychotherapy/Counselling Process

Every person and every problem is unique. It therefore follows that the psychotherapy/counselling process will run its unique course for each and every individual. My style of working is nevertheless a structured one. In order to structure sessions and the psychotherapy/counselling process I make use of the following techniques and methodical building blocks:
A meditative moment: this client is helped to visualise her goal state

To support our work with these structural elements I see techniques from systemic therapy, emotionally focused therapy and hypnotherapy/hypnosis. For example:

At the end of a follow-up session I frequently give clients either a task or something to reflect on between sessions. This has the effect of enabling the transfer of new skills and learning between sessions. I arrange follow-up sessions in a frequency which depends on your current life and work situation and how acute your needs are. Generally speaking though it makes sense to have a session every one to two weeks although in some cases a longer gap is possible. In order to ensure the quality of our work together it is also important to attend sessions regularly.

The end of the psychotherapy or counselling Process

A frequently asked question is how long psychotherapy or counselling will take. This question can of course only be answered on an individual basis and much of it depends on you. The nature of your issues, your expectations, how motivated you are and what obstacles you are facing all have an impact on the course and length of the psychotherapy/counselling process. That being said, I aim to work as efficiently as possible and will treat your time and financial resources with utmost respect. It is also my objective to help you to experience the first signs of change and progress within the first few sessions. Psychotherapy and counselling processes come to a conclusion when it can be established that you have reached the goals which we laid out for the psychotherapy/counselling process or when it becomes evident that the goals are not attainable. In the case of the latter this usually means that some readjustment of your goals is necessary. In some rare cases it could also be more meaningful to abort the therapy/counselling process and to try something else. The final consultation is an important part of the psychotherapy/counselling process. Research indicates that this final meeting has a significant positive impact on the sustainability and longevity of progress and changes made during the process.
Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life
Change does not stop at the final psychotherapy or counselling session

Get in touch

If you would like to book an appointment, please fill out the online contact form which you will find by clicking on the button below. For all other requests please contact me by e-mail at As I spend the majority of my working day in therapy, counselling and training sessions it is difficult to get hold of me by phone.

Kevin J. Hall, MSc

Psychotherapist (systemic family therapy), cert. emotionally focused therapist (ICEEFT), ACC/IOBC Senior Coach, Hypnotherapist (ISH)

Kontakt Details

+43 1 9900858


WISH Mindscience, Straßgschwandtnerstraße 4/1, 1140 Vienna, Austria

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