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First Impression

You should not underestimate how decisive the so-called ‘first impression’ is. It develops within less than a second (see the research from Lindgaard) and decides next about sympathy and antipathy. It is of enormous importance in counselling context that the counsellor is conscious about this impression without holding tight to it, or ‘digesting’ it. He, who as counsellor does not feel and reflect upon his sympathy or antipathy, but rather acts upon it (for instance, where there is sympathy, trivialising the critical and overvaluing the positive, and where there is antipathy the other way around), cannot do the client justice. Instead, it is important to explore the first impression about the client, i.e. to process one’s own input into this impression. Usually, in first impressions, there are a multitude of change-relevant messages which are, however, only utilisable if one allows oneself to be unsettled and one also permits further and different impressions, and if one processes these affectively. This is easily said and sometimes harder than one thinks.

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