What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session

What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session

  1. Expect to feel doubt or awareness of stigma. You might feel conscious of stigma around those needing help for mental health conditions, but keep in mind just how common these are: The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or issue each year. And you’ve already taken a huge step towards improving your life by arranging to go to therapy. Give yourself credit!
  1. Expect to fill in some forms and paperwork. Typical documents you’ll be presented within a first therapy session include confidentiality forms, intake assessments, questionnaires, and therapist statements of ethical practice. At our practice, these forms are all completed online before you come in so that you can start talking to your therapist about what you really want to talk about right away.
  1. Expect what you say to remain between you and your therapist. Therapy sessions are confidential (unless they fear you might hurt yourself or others and in certain cases involving abuse.)
  1. Expect to discuss what has brought you to therapy—your symptoms, the reasons behind your visit. Expect to talk about who you are and why you’re in the therapist’s office today.
  1. Expect questions about you, your personal situation, and what is going on in your life right now.
  1. Expect to ask questions—if you would like to. Maybe you’d like to ask your therapist about their experience with the issues you’re dealing with or about their approach to therapy or about their training. Ask away! The more comfortable you are with your therapist and the process of therapy, the more successful these sessions can be. The therapeutic alliance is the biggest predictor of therapeutic success.
  2. Expect to talk honestly about how you feel, but remember that you don’t have to share every last detail on a first visit. It’s okay to get comfortable talking to your therapist first and reveal more later.
  3. Expect to feel all sorts of emotions, sadness, upset, grief as you open up about what has brought you to therapy. While you may feel some relief as you open up, you may also feel more negative emotions as you explore and express deep emotions and memories before you feel better.
  1. Expect to leave with a plan for how you and your therapist can work together going forward.
  1. Expect to have a fair idea about whether it’s a good match between you and your therapist after the first session, and whether you would like to continue seeing them. It can take 2-3 sessions, and sometimes longer, to feel really comfortable and sure that the therapist is someone you want to work with moving forward.

If you have any questions about this or anything else you can ask your therapist when you meet with them.

Speak Your Mind


Blog Categories