Scheduling and then arriving to your first therapy appointment can provoke some feelings of apprehension and uncertainty. Keep in mind that by coming in for an initial consultation, you are just seeing if the therapist is a good fit for you. Here are five frequently asked questions about beginning therapy that may ease those concerns.
1. How will my first session start?
You can expect to meet privately with a therapist in their office. Your therapist will review the paperwork and disclosure statement and help you understand confidentiality. You should feel assured that what you discuss is completely safe and private within the therapy room.
2. How will I know if the therapist is a good fit for me?
Feeling comfortable and understood in therapy is critical for success, which is why we start with a free initial consultation. It is usually evident quickly if your therapist’s interpersonal style will be the right match for you. During this first meeting, your therapist will likely discuss their general approach to treating clients and their therapy style which can help you determine the goodness of fit. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in order to help determine if you feel comfortable talking to this therapist.
3. What kinds of things will my therapist ask me?
You will likely be asked to briefly describe your current situation, personal history, and why you are seeking therapy at this time. Your therapist may ask if you have previously been in therapy and how helpful it was for you.
4. What if I’m asked about things I’m not ready to talk about?
The first appointment is about finding a connection and information gathering, rather than delving deep into sensitive topics or highly disturbing memories from your past. If any questions are uncomfortable, let your therapist know you are not yet ready to discuss these topics and this will be respected. Therapy is a process, and the first appointment is merely the first step in your journey.
5. Will my therapist “prescribe” a treatment for me based on what I share?
During the consultation, your therapist will be focused to understand how they can best help you and what treatment approach might be the most effective. The treatment decided upon will be collaborative. During the consultation, your therapist may discuss what different treatments look like to help you both decide how to move forward. These suggestions are likely to be broad, and if you choose to pursue therapy, you and your therapist will collaborate to decide which specific treatment will work best for you.
Congratulations to you on making this first step to leading a happier, more fulfilled life!