Burnley Counselling Services
How To Get a Free Haircut.
Do it yourself
Get your Nan to cut it
Be a volunteer for a trainee
Seriously, would you?
So do you really want a free initial therapy session?
The first session is probably THE most important one because it can make or break the therapeutic relationship.
Initial sessions can be very hard work - for the therapist as well as the client. Telling your story is hard, it's personal, it's uncomfortable, it can be emotional and you may have put off seeking help for a long time, until you reach that point where you know things can't carry on as they have been.
There is an argument that a free initial session gives the client a chance to "shop around" to find the best fit counsellor - but in reality you can't do that, just as you can't get a free haircut and then simply move on to a different hairdresser if he/she makes a mess, or doesn't listen to what you wanted; you are the one left to live with the result.
Getting a bad haircut can be devastating and the effects can last a long time. I know I've poked fun at myself and my Nan here, but I still dislike having my hair cut! Having a first therapy session that is negative could put someone off from seeking help in the future. Incidentally, according to the Government's own figures, only half of those who seek help through IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Treatment), return after their first session.
Because your first session is so important, I will be using all of my skills, knowledge and experience the same as any other session. Giving this for free devalues it in my opinion. You are more likely to find inexperienced therapists offering free or low cost sessions, mainly due to a lack of confidence and without a deeper understanding of the real value of therapy and the therapeutic relationship.
Paying for your session sets up the relationship to be one of adult/adult rather than a parent/child relationship or one where the therapist sees themselves as a "rescuer."
If you want to ask any questions about therapy in general or to discuss whether I can help, then by all means contact me and I'll do my best to give you as much information as I can or signpost you to another service if I feel I can't help.
If you really can't afford to pay for treatment having a free initial session is of little use because you will then need to start the process all over again with someone else. Outside of the NHS there are many charities who can offer free or low cost treatment.
Me aged about 6 - haircut by my Nan.