The first session can feel intimidating, and you might feel wary about opening up on your personal experiences to a stranger.
But remember that the counselor is there to provide you with a safe environment to talk to, and they will help you in navigating through your thoughts and feelings. They will in no way judge, criticize, or interrupt as you speak.
Here is what your first therapy session can look like:
- Introductions: During your first therapy session, you will spend time getting to know each other personally. Your counselor might ask you questions like what you do, your favorite activities, your passions, your strengths, and will help you in feeling more comfortable. They will want to connect and build a relationship with you, a relationship that is completely open, filled with trust, and absent of judgement.
- Asking Questions: Your counselor will also be asking you other questions to gain an understanding of what brought you to therapy such as your symptoms, what you want to change in your life, what you want to work on, etc.
- Developing a Treatment Plan: Your counselor will also help you in identifying the goals you want to reach and/or the needs or issues you would like to address through therapy. The treatment is something that you and your counselor can discuss and plan together. They will include you in the process to make a plan that is completely tailored to you, and that would best help you.
- Discussing Expectations: Another crucial part of the first session is discussing expectations. Your counselor will explain what type of therapy they practice, the length of the sessions and how they would look like, their confidentiality policy, and they will give you time to discuss any concerns or questions you have about therapy.
You may leave the first session feeling frustrated, feeling as though you have not made progress yet.
But attending the first session is a big step towards taking care of your mental health!
The first session is essential for the counselor to learn more about you and get you started. As you start to attend the sessions more regularly, you will start to notice breakthroughs and improvements in your life. Keep in mind that it might take a while to notice breakthroughs, it is a slow but productive process! With each session, you are planting a seed for improvement, so do not quit on the process and keep going!
If you have started therapy, you may be wondering, is this counselor the right fit for you? Do you feel like you are able to connect with them, trust them, and talk openly? If not, do not be shy to have a conversation with your counselor about it. They are there for you through every step of the process. After having the conversation, if you still feel like you are continuously having difficulties trusting or connecting to the counselor after more than three sessions, or feel that you do not resonate with their approach, then it is recommended that you switch. Do not feel bad about switching counselors as this relationship is very important in your therapeutic journey, so make sure that your current counselor is the right fit for you!