Going to see a therapist for the first time to have your first therapy session, it’s quite normal to be nervous.
Talking to somebody you have never met about things you have probably not discussed is a big step. It can feel quite daunting if you don’t know what to expect in your first counselling session.
The great news is that as a therapist, we are usually aware of how difficult it can be to contact a therapist for the first time.
Most of us therapists like me would have gone through therapy for a while and have experienced it themselves what it is like going to therapy for the first time.
With this in mind, your first contact with me your therapist, whether over the phone, or on zoom should help to put some of these anxieties to rest.
The Free Initial Consultation
Your Free initial consultation is important as it is designed to help you find out more about me and vice versa.
This means that I could ask you questions about yourself, including what you are looking for from therapy, what have you tried before, and how you are right now.
The questions are designed to find out more about you and to find out whether I am the right therapist to help you, or whether they might need to suggest someone else for you to work with.
You can also ask me anything you wish to know so you may benefit from writing down beforehand any concerns you may have.
Then hopefully we would arrange your first session.
Please also be aware that It is common practice for therapists to have a cancellation policy, which you would be informed of at this first meeting.
Your First Therapy or Counselling Session
Be prepared to talk about yourself. You may feel uncomfortable but this is normal. The therapeutic process offers a different experience, where the space you have with a therapist is just for you.
Although the focus is one-sided on you, I am still engaged with you and will offer encouragement if you get stuck. Believe it or not, once you get started the fifty minutes go by a lot quicker than you think.
Once you have that first session, you are under no obligation to continue with me if you feel I’m not right for you, that decision is yours.
Be open and as honest as you can about the experience and you’ll do just fine.
I don’t expect you to tell me everything straight away. If you have come to therapy to work through issues in your past, I understand that it can take a while for you to open up about the experiences from the past which caused the trauma.
As you will be seeing me online, I would be in a quiet room on my own with my headphones on to ensure that only I can hear your voice.
I will again ask more questions as we would be still getting to know each other. We will find out what is going on and how you are feeling.
I may ask about your (and your family’s) medical and mental health history, whether you have seen a counsellor or therapist before and what you got out of your sessions if anything.
I will also need to know if you are taking any medications for psychological reasons. As we talk, I will get a sense of who you are and what is concerning you.
Sometimes the verbal content of a session isn’t the most important information. Your body language, posture, tone of voice, and the feelings that you have as you are talking are also very important.
Therapy works best when you feel safe to bring your spontaneous thoughts, feelings, and ideas to the therapy session for us to reflect on and work through.
We might talk about what has happened during the week and how it relates to events from the past or to assumptions, feelings, “working models,’ and your worldview.
There may also not be immediate relief, but therapy will help you develop coping strategies and emotional regulation techniques which can assist in the short term.
As the therapy goes on, the aim is to provide opportunities to process difficult experiences and emotions in a safe and more controlled way.
Just remember that therapy takes time, and results are hard to see at the beginning. It’s like building a house brick-by-brick and takes a considerable commitment on the part of both you and.