A Guide to Helping You Prepare for Your First Therapy Session
Getting started with therapy is a big step, here are some tips to help!
Getting ready for a new therapist can be a daunting task. You may feel anxious about starting an appointment, or you may be worried about being judged by the therapist. The good news is that there are many ways to ease your nerves and prepare for this important meeting. As you find a psychologist near you for your therapy, here are tips for your first session:
1. Talk Openly and Honestly With Your Therapist
This is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself succeed in therapy. You should feel comfortable talking about anything that's been bothering you or your therapist needs to know to help you. Tell them what issues you want to work on, what goals you hope to achieve, and any specific concerns or expectations about the therapy process.
2. Ask Important Questions
You might be surprised at how many questions you want to ask during your first session. It's okay to ask a lot of them, but be careful not to be trivial. Ask the right questions and get clear on what you want from the process. What do you hope to achieve? What would it look like for you to feel better? What concrete steps can you take to make progress on your goals? This will help you to get a clear trajectory of your therapy process.
3. Manage Your Expectations
Another thing that you need to do is manage your expectations. Because therapy is a journey, you will not get everything you want or need in one session. Therapy aims to help you find your way, so it's essential to be flexible and understanding. If you are going in with the attitude that your therapist will fix everything for you, it will be tough for them to succeed. You must be vulnerable and open up about any issues or concerns affecting your life while respecting your time and space.
4. Make a List of What's Bothering you
One of the most important things you can do is list all the things that are bothering you and why they are bothering you. For example, if your goal is to feel more confident in social situations, write down how people have said something or done something that has made you feel less confident in social situations. This will help you think about how much it bothers you and interferes with other parts of your life.
5. Go in With an Open Mind
Remember that the first session is about learning about each other, so it helps if you are open to sharing personal information and information about your life outside of therapy. The more open you are, the more likely your therapist will be able to help you address any issues causing distress in your life.
6. Pay Attention to Your Emotions
You are probably going to feel some emotions while you are in therapy. It's normal to feel anxious, nervous, or even scared. You may also feel strongly about being there and what it will mean for your life. All of these can be helpful or unhelpful, depending on the situation. Pay attention to how these feelings impact your behavior and decisions.
7. Prepare for Self-reflection and Introspection
You are about to start therapy, so you must do some self-reflection. This is a good thing because it can get your mind off all that negative thinking and help you focus on the positive aspects of your life. So, be patient with yourself during this process. You may feel like you do not know what's wrong with you or how to fix it, but this is just part of getting started. It's normal to feel anxious and unsure when starting therapy, but do not worry — as long as you stick with it, things will get better.
8. Understand That Going to Therapy is a Big Deal
Therapy today is not just sitting down with a counselor once a week for half an hour each time. It’s not just getting help from one person in one room at one time. It's about building up your skills and developing new ways of thinking and feeling about yourself and your life. Your therapist will work with you on your specific issues to help you achieve your goals, but do not expect immediate results — it takes time for a change.
Opening up can be scary, but taking the proper steps can help alleviate some of that fear. Go in with an open mind and keep your expectations in control to aid the success of your therapy session. Be patient with the process to attain success.
We Want to Hear From You
What do you wish you knew before your first therapy session?