Beginning therapy for the first time can come with many questions, potentially making you feel overwhelmed. Here to help with that are 5 things to expect from a first therapy session.
1. Meet your therapist
The therapist-client relationship is one of the most important aspects of therapy. Determining whether client and therapist fit is a two-way street. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Do you feel heard? Could you give this person a try?
2. Go over policies, procedures, housekeeping
Confidentiality is your right to privacy. Duty to warn maintains people’s safety. Your therapist will go over what those mean in more detail. Any other housekeeping needs- where is the bathroom, waiting room, what to do if you’re running late, etc.
An intake is your therapist’s way to get to know as much about you as possible.
What might be asked? What brings you to therapy, family history, medical conditions, abuse/trauma history, relationships, past treatment, strengths, goals, and more!
Not sure where to start? Your therapist will guide you.
Don’t feel comfortable sharing so soon? Your therapist will be patient and you can disclose as little or as much as you feel comfortable.
4. Wrapping up & Next steps
Your therapist will end with discussing the next steps such as scheduling a follow-up session or call, scheduling ongoing therapy, giving referrals, etc.
What’s a referral? There is a chance you are not at the right therapist for your specific needs. If that’s the case, that is okay! Your therapist could provide you with a list of suggested other options for ongoing treatment. Maybe it’s a specialized clinic or someone else who meets your availability needs. A referral is your therapist’s way of finding a better fit or service for you.
5. Yay, you did it! — Cue emotions & thoughts
Once you have taken the step to seek out therapy services you may feel a variety of emotions. Happy, proud, overwhelmed, upset, stressed, or more. You may discuss topics you haven’t in years. You may discuss difficult times in your life. You may feel overwhelmed with the process. These are typical and okay! Take this one step at a time and remember you are NOT ALONE.
Meredith is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate in Indiana and Kentucky, a Clinical Social Worker in Kentucky, and a Licensed Social Worker in Indiana. She sees clients in person and via telehealth.