What Happens in Your First Therapy Session?

By Kendra Penski on January 20, 2021 in Blog, Therapy

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Coffee mug sitting on table with the word "begin" written on it. Represents what happens in your first therapy session.It can feel a bit intimidating or scary to start therapy for the first time. You may be wondering, “Will they judge me? Will they be able to help me? Is this a waste of time? Am I going to have to lay on a couch and reveal all my dark secrets?” All of these are normal worries and questions that people have when entering a therapy relationship. There can be some anxiety and nervousness that comes up because of all of these unknowns. It can be helpful to try and remember that the therapy process is all about you and helping you to feel better overall. Knowing what happens in your first therapy session can also help to ease some anxieties.

Prior to meeting with your therapist, you will likely be asked to complete some paperwork. The paperwork typically includes an intake questionnaire where you share a bit about yourself so that the therapist understands your presenting concerns. Other forms likely include the informed consent and possibly a telehealth consent (if doing telehealth therapy). Informed consent essentially reviews the policies of the therapist and/or the practice. This includes any fees, how fees are collected, how your information is used, cancellation policies and confidentiality practices. It is important to review this document in detail so that you understand all of these important policies and so that you know what to expect from the therapy relationship. 

What Happens in Your First Therapy Session

The first therapy session is really about your therapist getting to know you, your concerns, and your goals for therapy. The therapist will review the informed consent and answer any questions you may have about it. They will discuss the practice policies and provide information on how the therapy process will work. The therapist will then review your intake questionnaire and inquire about what has brought you to therapy now. This is a chance for your therapist to really understand the issues you are dealing with. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about any of your concerns or worries about the therapy process. Additionally, the therapist will be able to help identify any goals you have for treatment.

Connecting with Your Therapist

This first therapy appointment will also help to give you a good indication of whether you feel comfortable with the therapist you are working with. It’s important to feel like you can trust your therapist in order to openly share your concerns. Keep in mind that the relationship building can take a few sessions to establish. Don’t hesitate to let your therapist know if there are certain things you like or don’t like about their approach or about the process. A good therapist will value that feedback and adjust to ensure you are comfortable and getting the most of your sessions and your time. This initial therapy session will likely last around 50-60 minutes. The end of the session will likely involve your therapist providing you information about the next steps and asking you if you would like to move forward with them in the process. 

Although that first therapy session can feel a bit nerve-racking, folks typically describe feeling more comfortable as the session progresses. It can feel really great to have an objective outside party to share your struggles with along with having someone who is professionally trained to help you overcome those struggles. 

Try not to let your own worries and anxieties prevent you from making that first step in seeking help and in living the life you want to be living! If you have any questions about what happens in your first therapy session, contact us today