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Individual and Couples Counselling in Calgary

  • Writer's pictureRovena Magidin

Why I Offer Free Consultations Before Starting Counselling

Rovena Magidin, Couples Counsellor, in her office, on a zoom call
Rovena during a Zoom consultation

Starting Individual Counselling or Couples Therapy is not easy, whether its your first time or not.

It takes courage, it's vulnerable, and often there are a lot of questions that you want to ask before you even begin:

  • How can I choose the right therapist for me? What makes that person"right"?

  • Will this person be able help me?

  • Will I feel safe sharing? Will I feel seen, heard, supported? Or will I be judged?

  • What's going to happen in our first session? How about after that?

People have practical questions like:

  • How many sessions will I need?

  • What's the cost?

  • Will my insurance cover it? (If that's your question, read about insurance coverage here)

They also have emotional questions like:

  • My partner had an affair, is it possible to recover? (While I can't say if this is possible in your individual situation, I absolutely believe that it is possible and I have supported many couples in an "affair recovery process")

  • We have challenges in the bedroom - can you help us? (Of course I can, that's my job. And it's also my job to make it comfortable for you to talk about it. It actually can be fun)

  • My partner doesn't want to do therapy, what can I do? (I can very successfully work with one partner only, and we can discuss what it can look like)

And so on and so forth. So many questions, so many concerns. These are really good questions.

And a lot of people say: "I've never tried therapy before, I don't even know what to ask or where to begin".

That's why I offer Free Consultations before jumping into deep work.

I have 3 intentions for the consultation:

  1. I want to feel confident that I can help you. If your issues are outside of my scope of practice or my expertise - I'll suggest a referral to a specialist or a doctor.

  2. I want to answer any questions you might have, so you feel good about moving forward. Once I understand what you want to work on, I'll be specific when answering those questions.

  3. I want to talk about my process, how sessions will work, required paperwork and so on, so you know what to expect when we begin.

I will be very open and honest with you. Therapy is a partnership, and I want it to be a success. If I'm not the right person for you, I'd hope we'll discover it sooner rather than later.

I also want to make sure that your expectations match the reality of therapy. For example, a couple wants to make a decision to get a divorce or stay together, and they are booking 1 session to make that decision. This is not something I can offer - because I don't believe that's how decisions like this should be made. Way too much pressure. Not enough time. Not enough information. Too many emotions. I'd talk about a process that helps people make a solid decision they feel good about (it takes more than one session, and often individual sessions will be a part of that process).

My Personal Experience

My very first therapy session as a client was an assessment. It's a style of a first session where therapist asks you a whole bunch of questions about your history, childhood, traumas, relationships, mental health and so on. There's a good reason for it, it's designed for the therapist to have the whole picture to be able to help you better. But no one told me that. I had no idea this was going to be the whole session. I thought most questions were completely irrelevant. I was extremely disappointed. I paid for something I didn't want. I didn't go back.

That's why we are doing a consultation, so you know what to expect. And also, I don't do assessment sessions like that. I don't want you to feel like I did. Instead, I ask people to fill out a questionnaire prior to their first session. It's about their personal and relational history. It helps us save so much time, so right in our first session we can dive in and start working on your goals.

After the Consultation

After the consultation, you're free to decide if you want to take the next step. No pressure, no obligations, no judgements. It's an important decision to make and it needs to feel good for you.

If you're ready to dive in, we'll get your first session booked right away. If you want to take your time to think about it, or to discuss it with your partner, you can book your first session online any time. It's very easy.

Rovena Magidin, Couples Counsellor, in a session
Picture from my old office when I still did consultations in person

But what exactly happens in the consultation?:

  • I will ask you about your reasons for reaching out to me and your goals. I'll ask something like: Why did you decide to contact me? What are you hoping you can get out of this work?

  • If I think I can help, I'll briefly talk about how I work with people in your situation (that helps you get a feel for me, as a person and a counsellor, and for this work, and gives you an opportunity to ask questions).

  • If I don't think I can help, I'll talk about it too and make a suggestion or a referral

  • Then I'll ask you if you have any questions, or concerns and will address them to the best of my ability.

  • I'll talk about our next steps, and paperwork.

  • Then if it's clear that this is a good fit, we can book a session right away, or you can book it later, online, at your convenience.

There’s no pressure, you don’t have to make a decision on the spot, you can think about it as much as you want. Some couples talk to me, and then decide they are ready to do the work a year later. It’s all good. It’s where you are at.

What doesn't happen in a consultation

  • It's not a mini counselling session - this is just a conversation.

  • We won't be getting in depth into your issues, I only need to hear the high level summary

  • You don't have to share anything you don't want to

So, if you're curious about therapy, if you have questions, if you wonder if I can help - book you free consultation here. I am an Individual and Couples Counsellor in Calgary and I work with people around the world online. I specialize in Relationships and Sex Therapy.

P.S. You can read the answers to the most common questions people ask during a consultation in the FAQ section.


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