Therapy: What to expect in your first session

Therapy: What to expect in your first session

posted on June 8, 2020

Are you not getting therapy because you do not know what to expect? Or have you been to therapy session and did not go back because it was not what you expected?

Therapy is like making morning coffee now. It’s popular. Celebrities do it. Our friends do it. Our parents do it. So why not you?

Yes…Yes….so many reasons why not too but so many more why we should! We all should have learned behavior therapy in middle school and high school. We would be a much better functioning society but hey there is no time like the present.


Woman during a psychotherapy session

There are so many TV programs showing a client lying on a couch as the therapist is diligently jotting notes down with blacked rimmed glasses and a raised eyebrow. The other popular screen scene is a client sitting in an overly modern office with chairs meant for decoration, not for therapy. Again, with the therapist diligently jotting notes down with blacked rimmed glasses and a raised eyebrow. In reality, your therapist’s office should feel like a comfortable living room without a coffee table separating you from them. You may lie down, but rarely do clients do so.

So lets say you took the step and you have an appointment for the first time with your therapist.

You are probably excited and nervous at the same time……

Excited because you are ready for change and nervous because you have to talk about YOURSELF to a complete stranger! This is beyond normal! I tell every new client you may be nervous at the beginning of the session but by the end you should feel much better and quite hopeful about your journey in therapy. **If you do not at all by the end of your first session, this may be a sign that you are not a great match with your therapist. Or it could be a sign that YOU are not ready for change. It is very important to feel connected to your therapist and your therapist feel connected to you for the ultimate change in your life. The therapeutic relationship (the relationship between the therapist and the client), is one the biggest components that will help you transition to the person you want to become.

What else you may ask?

When you get to your therapist’s office expect to fill out paperwork first. After your paperwork is done your therapist should warmly greet you and lead you to take a seat in their comfortable office. It is important to know your first meeting is know as an “Intake session” and in not actually a “therapy session.” Clients may get disappointed by this but it is structured this way for a reason.

Your therapist will go over the office policies and what to expect from therapy. This is also the hour where your therapist will get to know you by asking questions about your past, present, and future goals in therapy. For example, what are you seeing therapy for? Have you had any trauma in your life? How long have you been experiencing these feelings? And so on!

You will be able to feel out your therapist in this hour as well.

This is your chance to ask any questions you may have about therapy too! Now that your therapist has gotten to know you a bit, she or he will have a plan by the end of this meeting on how to help you! This brings you to the end of the meeting where you should ask any questions you might have and then schedule your next appointment where therapy work really begins!

You are now on your way to change, enjoy the journey!

Alyssa Warren is a licensed therapist , blogger, future podcaster, and owner of Innovative Direction in Pensacola, FL. If you like more information or make an appointment with Alyssa or other clinicians at Innovative Direction  call or email today.

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