What is a psychological consultation?
Every psychological consultation is simply a meeting and conversation with a psychologist. The goal of the consultation depends on the client’s needs. Psychological consultation may be a single meeting or a series of meetings with a specialist regarding a specific topic important for the client. Consultation with a psychologist may also be an introduction to an individual psychotherapy, marital therapy (couple therapy), work with a psychotherapist towards emerging from a crisis, etc.
The goals of a psychological consultation may include:
- counselling on behaviour in a specific situation (e.g. how to react, what to say, what to avoid)
- testing whether psychological assistance or a psychotherapy are an appropriate method to work with the client’s problems
- obtaining information on assistance provided by various specialists (psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, neurologist), institutions and organisations
- expanding knowledge on psychological problems and therapeutic methods
- setting up a psychotherapist-client contract, defining goals, methods, timeline and rules of working with the psychologist
Consultation with a psychologist
Consultation with a psychologist is simply a meeting with a professional, educated in psychology and/or psychotherapy, working on a daily basis within the field of mental health. It may be also a conversation with a psychologist over a topic interesting for the client. It is the client’s decision which problems to discuss during the meeting and what he or she wants to achieve by the psychologist support. The psychologist may ask questions, present services that he or she or other specialists (psychotherapist, psychiatrist, a trained teacher, neurologist, addiction counsellor) may offer and propose specific solutions, but it is the client who eventually decides what to do.
While setting up a meeting, the client and the psychologist agree generally also on the duration of the consultation. It may vary, depending on the client’s needs and the psychologist’s methods of work. I usually set up the first meeting for 75 minutes, because it is my experience that initially the clients want and need to tell me a lot and often have many questions. Then, if needed, the following meetings last 50 minutes. When more than one person (a couple, a family) attend the psychological consultation, I usually set up the meetings at 90 minutes, which allows every participant to speak as they need, present their point of view or ask the psychologist about issues that bother them.
I encourage to set up the first therapeutic meeting in advance by the phone. Setting the date allows you to determine your expectations regarding solving the problem. I offer two types of meetings to my clients: individual consultation and couple (family) consultation. It is your expectations, possibilities and your problems that determine the type of consultation you choose.
How to prepare to a psychological consultation
While preparing yourself for a meeting with a psychologist you may want to think over the following questions:
- What is the goal you want to achieve during the meeting? What are your expectations regarding the consultation with the psychologist? Or, in a broader sense, what do you expect from psychological assistance in general? Do you need counselling on specific difficult situation? Do you think about beginning a psychotherapy? Do you need to check what working with a psychologist looks like and whether psychological assistance is an appropriate aid in your specific situation?
- What questions do you need to ask the psychologist? Do you need a specific techniques that you may use during a panic attack or methods to reduce stress? Do you want to learn whether what you feel requires a specialist counselling? Do you want to verify whether a psychologist you chose has relevant experience in depression therapy? Do you seek methods to support your adult daughter during a difficult divorce? Do you want to learn whether a humanistic psychotherapy is the right counselling for you? Do you want to ask a psychologist about institutions offering support for people with specific problems because you want to help someone close to you?
- What important information about yourself or your situation do you want to disclose to the psychologist during the first meeting? Which are substantial, influencing your functioning? What is not to be missed? What the psychotherapist should know to properly assess the situation and help you effectively? May your environment impede your psychotherapy or using the psychological assistance? Do you have serious alcohol or marijuana addiction problems in addition to relationships problems? You cannot afford to pay for psychological assistance and need to identify free of charge possibilities?
Trust my knowledge and experience
Summing up the topic of the psychological consultation: if you have a specific goal, needs or image of your meeting and psycholgical assistance in general, share them with the psychologist. If a knowledge about your specific situation may help the psychologist to be more effective, describe it. A psychologist is a human being, too. Within a limited time of one or several meetings he or she may not be able to find out by himself or herself things you have not mentioned. The effectiveness of psychological assistance you have decided to use depends also on your input.
Have trust in my knowledge and experience. I am here to understand your problems and offer therapeutic assistance. I create a friendly environment during a psychological consultation. Psychotherapy that I counduct in my Warsaw office will help you effectively solve your problem.
Set up a meeting
If you need psychological help, contact me.