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What to Expect During Your First Therapy Session

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

First Therapy Session

Let’s say you’ve found your therapist, but what next? Many people have no idea what to expect for their first therapy session. “Is it going to be stressful?” “Do I have to start pouring out every detail of my life?” “Where do I start?” are some of the questions that people may have. Let’s break it down.

The first session is very introductory. It’s similar to someone’s first day of school, it’s full of introductions and breakdowns of the curriculum. At the beginning, the client will have to fill out the standard forms pertaining to their insurance, medical history, a questionnaire about their symptoms, and therapist-patient service agreement. This is usually done while in the waiting room.

During the session itself, the therapist will introduce themselves to their client along with their practice. They will do their best to breakdown things such as the patient confidentiality agreement, the payment fees, and how long each session will be. The therapist will also explain how their practice works and the style of practice so that the client has a general overview of what to expect. Each therapist is different and so the practice they adopt also varies.

After all of that is said and done, with the remaining time, the therapist will try to get a better understanding of the client and ask questions like “What brought you to therapy?” “What are your symptoms?” or ask the client to explain their history and past. This is so the therapist can start developing a general idea of what the client wants from their sessions. As a client, you can also ask the therapist questions for clarity and voice your concerns in order to figure out if this therapist is the right fit for you and your needs. Being open and candid during your session allows both parties to move forward more smoothly.

Near the end of your session the therapist will try to outline a game plan for their client. Depending on their practice, it might involve some homework, asking the client to pay close attention to certain things in their life, or to begin a journal to help them keep track. As it is just the first session, it is also very likely that the therapist simply ask that their client return for their next session to begin a more in-depth conversation. The goal between the client and therapist is to help their client get to a point where they feel better and can function in society without their troubles affecting their livelihood and lifestyle.

After your first session it gets easier to understand how the process is. It’s also important to ask yourself and the end of your first session how you felt during the process and how it went. If you felt any discomfort, you can look for a different therapist that makes you feel comfortable. The first session is generally very relaxed and light, so there’s no need to be worried.

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