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What's The Free Call In Therapy For?

Many therapists, myself included, offer a free, 15-20 minute call. If you're wondering what it's for, then this article explains.

A short call gives you the chance to tell me what you're wanting to bring to therapy. That helps me make as sure as possible we'll be working on something within my competence (e.g., I'm not particularly well trained in addictions, so if you're bringing an addition then I'll probably offer to help you find a therapist better suited to your needs), and helps me prepare for our first session, if we choose to go ahead and book one.

Aside from that, these 20 minute chats are great for giving you, as the client, a chance to figure out how you feel about me, because that's going to have an impact on how the therapy we do together will play out. We have a concept in therapy called "transference", which I can best describe as the technical term for "who does this person remind me of/how do I feel about this person?" For example, if we talk for a few minutes and something about me reminds you of someone who bullied you in school, you might not feel like I'm the right person to open up to, even though we almost certainly didn't actually go to school together. That sense of unsafety would likely hold you back from doing the therapeutic work you need to do. On the opposite side of the coin, if we have our 20 minutes and you feel like I'm the supportive big sister or aunt you never had, then that's transference too and will work in our favour - even though I'm not actually your sister.

Transference mostly happens subconsciously, so you may not get a clear, crisp experience of it: rather than explicitly thinking, "oof, you're like X from school, I don't like you", you'd get a vague feeling that I'm not safe to be vulnerable around. Or, you might feel warm and fuzzy with me but again, not be sure why, just that I feel 'right'.

Because of all that, I like to suggest for these sessions to be on Zoom rather than by telephone, because that gives us both an idea of what the other looks like as well as what we sound like, which will contribute to our transference. Being able to see as well as hear one another helps us both to get as much information as possible about what our transference is like with each other.

So, what happens next? After the call I ask you if you'd like to book in a session. If you're not sure and want to stall for a while and let how you felt about me sink in before deciding, then that's more than fine. I ask at the end of a call because people generally tend to know pretty quickly, but everyone's different.

How To Get Started

Now that you know what a short call is for, if you'd like one, you're welcome to request one on my Contact page or reach out to me on the details below.