First Therapy Appointment

The first time you meet with a therapist can feel overwhelming. You have a lot you want to tell them, but you only have a set amount of time. Here’s what you can do to manage your expectations and get through the first meeting. Don’t think of it as a doctor’s appointment, where you get one chance to give your symptoms and get treatment. Therapy will take time. You don’t have to share everything in the first session.

Set One or Two Goals

One of the first things the therapist may ask is “what do you hope to achieve with therapy?” Know why you are going into therapy. It might be as simple as just being unmotivated. Maybe you want help with a relationship. Are you feeling anxious? Have one or two things that you want to focus on to give yourself a starting point.

Give Yourself a Buffer of Time

If you can’t schedule your session at a convenient time, work out your schedule to give yourself a cushion of time before and after the session. Go get a cup of coffee before your appointment to get your mind set on what you’re doing. You’ll also want time after the session to redirect your focus. Give yourself time to get to your session without being late. You may already be stressed, so don’t add to the stress.

Have a List of Questions For the Therapist

Your first therapy session is almost an interview between you and the therapist. The therapist wants to get to know you, to make sure that what you need fits his or her experience and knowledge, while you want to be comfortable with the therapist and make sure you have rapport. Make a list of the most important things you need to know.

Be Open and Honest

Therapists have an ethical duty to hold what you say in confidence. There are a few exceptions, such as if you want to hurt yourself or someone else, but the therapist should explain that in your first session. You don’t need to unpack everything at the first session, but you should feel free to be honest with the therapist, even when it’s uncomfortable. If you aren’t ready to talk about something, say so. Your therapist is there to help you, not judge or push you too much. Make an appointment with a therapist, like Lindsey Hoskins & Associates, to get started on a more positive, impactful life.