If you’re thinking of private counselling, then there is no test or evaluation! In private counselling, an assessment for counselling is where you and the counsellor meet to initially discuss what you want from counselling, and what the counsellor can offer you. This is an ethical approach and informs you about what sort of therapy you are opening yourself up for.
Things can seem somewhat different in NHS counselling. With newer IAPT services (read more), you may initially be recommended the lowest form of therapeutic intervention to begin with (e.g. go home and come back in a few weeks if things don’t feel better … or try a computer program that may offer some suggestions on how to cheer up your life). To the next level of therapy you may feel that you have to be unsuccessful with the previous level of therapy.
It might be some time before you meet the most basically trained counsellor – and even more time to meet with an experienced therapist.
This can feel like you have to keep failing stages in therapy before you are allowed to go to the next stage.
I’m not suggesting that this occurs all of the time – each individual will be (or should be) treated on an individual needs basis – but it is not uncommon for people seeking counselling on the NHS to frail levels of treatment until one is found that is successful,
With Dean Richardson you are not offered one level of therapy first, followed by other levels if they are unsuccessful. What you receive from Dean is his full service from the beginning (although, of course, we will always take matters at a pace that works best for you).
At the beginning of counselling, you and Dean will go through an assessment for counselling. This is where BOTH you and the counsellor will discuss your needs for counselling (i.e. not just you being assessed, you are assessing the counsellor and his methods too). You and Dean will talk about what can (and cannot) be offered to you.
The assessment is not a test – Dean is not looking for you to score a high mark (or get a low one). An assessment is an effective way for you and the counsellor to both assess if working with Dean is, or is not, a good idea. Other options, such as a referral to a more appropriate therapist, are available too.