Deciding to go to therapy isn’t an easy decision and it is natural to be nervous or anxious about the process. There are various factors and questions involved in when making the choice that therapy is right for you. Some of those questions may include: what do I need? What am I looking for? What goals do I have? What am I looking to process through? What do I want to be different? You may not be able to answer those questions yet and that may be why you are seeking the help of a professional. Great decision! Once you’ve decided, or even if you cant quite answer all of the questions you have yet, there are ways for you to be proactive and feel more confident before your 1st session.
1. Congratulate yourself. You did it! You decided to go to therapy. Thats a huge achievement you know? You have decided to take the first step to meet someone you don’t know & to talk about some of your most personal and sensitive experiences. You may have numerous questions about the process and you may have reservations and thats okay. One of the most important things is that you took the first step and that in itself is celebratory!
2. Ask questions.During your 1st session, you will receive a lot of information from your therapist about the process, procedures, and their particular modality. If you have questions that you think of prior to session, write them down and bring them with you to your 1st session. This way, your therapist can address your concerns and help ease some of the fear you may have. As a professional, your therapist is prepared for you to come in with questions, so don’t feel afraid to lay them all out on the table. (Here are a few questions you can ask: what is your counseling style? How often will we meet? What can I expect from sessions?)
3. Begin thinking about your goals.What are the things you want to work on while in therapy? What strategies have you tried? What things have worked and have not worked? Knowing these things and bringing them to your first session will assist your therapist with creating a solid treatment plan for you. This will also assist them with discovering how they will be able to best guide you on your journey.
4. Keep an open mind.It is important to remember going into your first session that your therapist is there to help YOU. Your therapists role is not to come down on you and expose your mistakes, weaknesses, or character flaws. Their main goal is to assist you with working through your experiences while also challenging you in order to help be your best self. Addressing hard stuff is difficult but critical to your success.
5. Take a deep breath and know that our lips are sealed.Everything is confidential. Your therapist is required by law to keep everything from your sessions confidential. No information from your sessions can be released without your permission. The only exception to this mandate, is if your therapist believes that someone is hurting you, you are hurting yourself or you are hurting or seeking to hurt others. In that case, they have a duty to prevent harm and contact the appropriate individuals.
Whew, that wasn’t too daunting was it?
If you’re headed into your first session, remember that your wellness is your therapists 1st priority. They want to see you win & so do I!
Alexis Long-Daniels, M.A., ALC, NCC