Your first therapy session can be a lot intimidating. You’re about to meet someone who is supposed to help you deal with your life’s problems. Even when all the preparations are done, there can still be some lingering feelings of anxiety and nervousness. If that’s what you’re going through, then It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed about your first therapy session.
Still, there are some proactive steps we can take to make sure we get the best out of our first experience. So, if you’ve just set up your appointment with your therapist and are looking for what to do next? Then this post is just for you. Keep on reading to find more.
1. What do you need from therapy?
What pushed you to get therapy in the first place? Do you want someone who can listen to your problems without judgment? Are you seeking a therapist so they can help you deal with your anxiety and depression-related symptoms? Do you want a place where you can vent in front of a professional? Or are you looking for techniques to deal with your anxiety-related problems?
Having a clear direction in your mind from the very beginning will help you start off with the real issue in mind. Think about what you would like to gain from your sessions and what are the major stressors that pushed you to seek therapy?
2. Create a list of your issues
During your free time, sit down and write all of your problems down. What do you feel? What goes inside your head most of the time? What are the biggest sources of stress in your life? What type of childhood did you spend? What sort of relationship did you have with your parents?
Writing all of it down will help you clearly see what issues are more important to discuss so you can get a headstart. You can bring the list with you to the therapy session and let your therapist have a look at it if you feel comfortable. Even if you don’t bring it with you to therapy, it will still help you organize your thoughts and bring some clarity regarding what you need to discuss.
3. Sort out any formalities
In your list for your personal problems, also write down any concerns you have about how your therapy will take place. Such as the payments, appointment timings, and any other essential things, and ideally, cover these first.
Clearing out such matters before therapy starts will take any additional burden off of your shoulders. You will know your routine and when and where you will be required to make payments. If any such details come out as a surprise in the future, it will annoy you. So, having everything sorted out at the start will allow you to be more comfortable during your therapy sessions.
4. Be open and honest
You are seeking therapy to help you get better. Unlike other people, therapists don’t judge or criticize you for thinking or behaving in certain ways. They listen to you, understand you, and teach you ways that can help you be better. So, there is no point in holding back your deepest emotions or how you truly feel. You don’t have to filter what goes inside your head in front of your therapist. For them to do an effective job, you have to let them honestly know how you feel and think, even if it’s embarrassing.
If you’re not honest, you won’t get your desired results out of your therapy. So, before you go for that appointment, realize that you don’t have to fake anything in front of your therapist. They will not judge you. The more honest you are, the better benefits you will have.
5. Ask questions
During your first therapy session, ask your therapist everything that concerns you about them. Even the stupid questions. Such as, what is your qualification? How many years have you practiced? Have you treated patients with similar problems before? Can you prescribe medications? In what areas do you specialize? Knowing that your therapist is a trustworthy professional will help you be more comfortable.
6. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable
Therapy takes time, effort, and commitment. Understand that this is the first of many sessions you are going to have. Calibrate your expectations and don’t expect too much from the first session. Therapy might be both rewarding and difficult at the same time. Your therapist will take some time to collect all the necessary information about you they need. So, you may not be getting all of your answers in the first session and it’s completely fine.
7. Everything will be confidential
Any information you give to your therapist will not be shared with anyone else. Therapists have a confidentiality policy in which their client’s personal details are kept strictly private. If you do drugs, you can also tell your therapist. They won’t call the police on you. If they need help with solving some of your issues, they might share it with their supervisor. But in either case, your details will be secure and private.
8. Your first therapist isn’t your only therapist
You should not let your first impressions get the better of you. If you find some things uncomfortable about your therapist, you should let them know about it so they can try a better approach. You should give your therapist a couple of more sessions to see how effective results you are getting.
However, if things don’t seem to work, you can always opt-out and try someone else. Keep this in mind when starting therapy. Give your therapy some time to see the results, but never lose hope if things don’t work out. You can always try someone else who can understand your situation better.
Seeing a therapist for the first time will spark a bit of nervousness in the best of us. Using these techniques above will help you tackle this anxiety and get better results from your first session. Remember to set your goals, be honest, and see this as an opportunity to let a professional help you become a better version of yourself.