In America, 42% of people have seen a counselor at some time in their lives.
However, if you’re preparing for your first therapy session, it can feel very overwhelming.
If you’re not sure what to expect from your first session, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Let’s get started:
1. When You Schedule Your Appointment, Ask What to Expect!
Knowing what to expect can help us reduce our anxiety and stress levels. So, why not simply give your therapist a ring and ask them?
Don’t like picking up the phone? You could equally send an email asking this question too. Your therapist will likely be understanding and you won’t be the first person to have asked this question.
Having them tell you exactly what to expect can help you put your mind at ease.
2. Didn’t “Click” with a Therapist? That’s Okay
Many people worry that by going to see a therapist, they’re locked into seeing them forever. However, this is simply not the case.
You need to find someone who you click with and your therapist understands this. As a result, you may want to ask for a mini-consultation first. During this time, you can ask your therapist all about their style and expertise.
It may take you two or three tries before you find the perfect therapist for you. But, it’s worth putting in the work.
3. Talk as Much as You Feel Comfortable
During your first therapy trip, there is no reason for you to talk all about your inner-most fears. Talk to your therapist about matters you’re comfortable with.
Your first therapy session is an important way for you to get to know your therapist and vice versa.
They may ask you many questions, but don’t answer those which you’re not yet ready to answer. Your therapist will understand. Although this is perfectly normal, consider opening up to your therapist as much as possible for more benefits.
4. Arrive Early
Therapy hours are actually only around 50 minutes. But, those initial ten minutes are valuable time to you.
Make sure you arrive early to the prepare and gather your thoughts. Perhaps use these few minutes to meditate, write in your journal or sip a glass of water.
By arriving early, you can control your anxiety somewhat and make sure it doesn’t eat into your time with your therapist.
5. Don’t Worry About When It Will End
You’ve paid for your time, it’s now up to your therapist to decide when the session will end. To truly throw yourself into therapy, don’t worry about keeping an eye on the clock.
Have you been talking for a long time? That’s great and the one time that you can truly get your thoughts off your chest and be listened to!
Your therapist will wrap up the session for you so simply focus on talking through your problems instead.
6. Business Always Comes First
Before you begin spilling your heart out to your therapist, it’s important to get “business” over with first.
This involves any scheduling for next time, check writing and any other queries such as insurance issues.
Finally, it’s time to get down to talking through your problems and you can walk away as soon as your session ends to regroup without having to pull out your wallet.
7. Question Your Therapist – It’s Allowed
Want to know about your therapist’s life? You can ask. Contrary to popular belief, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your therapist questions about them.
However, don’t expect them to always answer. They will make their own personal boundaries clear.
Equally, if you’re wondering why a therapist dealt with your response in a certain way – ask away! You can challenge your therapist on their methods and continue to ask “WHY” to help yourself understand the situation better.
Furthermore, if your therapist uses a lot of words which you don’t understand – ask them what they mean. Don’t shy away from the jargon, learn it by asking.
8. Stuck for Something to Say?
Sometimes we can hit a wall and feel that we’re simply talking about our mundane lives, instead of what is really the matter.
In order to get to this root cause, ask yourself questions. Try doing this before you come to therapy and by using a journal. Questions may include:
- How am I really feeling deep down?
- Why did I choose to go to therapy?
- What is it that I’m afraid of sharing with my therapist?
- What have I discovered about myself by going to therapy?
As a result of asking yourself such questions before arriving in therapy, you’ll have a lot more to talk about. Naya Clinics offers great advice on how to get the most out of therapy if you’re still struggling.
9. Don’t Talk to Friends First
You’re all ready for your first therapy session and may find yourself discussing WHY you’re going with friends.
Rather than doing this and arriving at therapy with a story already formed, try not speaking about your issues with friends first.
By doing this, you’ll have more energy and interest in talking about your problems with your therapist. Better yet, they’ll be able to get to know you, rather than your opinions which have been molded by friends.
10. Remember to Enjoy Yourself
Finally, this is your first therapy session. Congratulations for getting yourself this far! It’s easy to pretend that we don’t need therapy and continue our lives without the wonderful changes that it can bring. You have made that leap!
Give yourself a pat on the back for arriving and enjoy the fact that for this hour a week there is someone to listen to everything you say. No interruptions from your kids or parents, no irritating friend who’s “listening” but really on their phone.
Keep Your Head Up When Walking into Your First Therapy Session
With these simple tips under your belt, hopefully, your first therapy session will be an enjoyable one rather than something to dread.
You may be on the path to a healthier, happier way of life. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep so you arrive fresh to your therapy session.
Need genius tips on how to fall asleep without counting any pesky sheep? Check out this article.