You have made the decision to ask for help (even if it feels daunting). Know that you have made a huge leap of faith here! Take a moment to congratulate yourself. You took the time to research a therapist and settled on the one you feel will be able to help. This is a pretty big step toward getting to a better place in life.
You’ve found my building, hopefully without too many issues. You enter the building and head down the stairs (or use the ramp to the right-hand side of the building) and have a seat in the waiting area. Or take a walk down the hall to find my door, or to use the restroom.
Take a few minutes to center yourself before arriving. “Breathe in, hold the breath, breathe out.” Allow yourself to notice what you’re feeling (scared, anxious, nervous, hopeful, etc.). Think of this first visit as an interview. But, you are the interviewer! Plus, you are allowed to find someone else if you’re not comfortable with me. Now, let’s get to work.
Greetings and Paperwork…
I will greet you at your scheduled time (please know that sometimes a session may run late, but I will give you the courtesy of your full scheduled time). I will have some paperwork for you to fill out (or you may print and bring with you). We will discuss these before we get started and get a copy of your insurance (if being used) and collect a payment.
Next, we will dive in to what has been going on/why you wanted to meet with me. I like to start by asking, “What brings you to therapy?” During this time, I may have other questions or answer your questions. I prefer to have a conversation — we are building a relationship after all. After getting some general information about your general symptoms or issues, I may ask more questions about where you grew up, if your parents are married or divorced. Do you have siblings? Do you have children? Who is in your support system?
Other questions that we may discuss (not a complete list):
- Are you religious or spiritual?
- Have you ever been bullied? Been a bully?
- Are you currently dating/married? How long?
- Is there any history of mental illness for you or your family?
There are a number of other questions we may discuss, but these may help me to get to know you better. Please know that you do not have to discuss anything you do not feel comfortable with a topic.
The end of the first session…
At the end we will talk about goals that you have decided on and try to clarify what the next step(s) are. We will go over what we discussed and give you time to ask questions you have left. Let’s set up another appointment (assuming that you felt comfortable and confident in working with me) for about a week later.
If you’re still hesitant, I encourage you to check the following resources as I have found them to be very useful:
What to expect in your 1st counseling session