3 Things to Expect When Pursuing Therapy
I get it. Going to therapy for the first time can feel intimidating and vulnerable. I’ve been there. It takes a lot of courage to open up your inner life to a complete stranger. Especially when we are struggling it seems easier to simply ignore our anxieties and difficult feelings. We distract ourselves and it works for awhile until it becomes too much. Over time I have learned that it is always better to run toward our pain and our problems instead of running from them. This is counterintuitive I know. It’s not our natural response. However, it will save you a lot of stress and difficulty in the long run.
Simply knowing what to expect when planning your first therapy appointment can resolve a lot of your uncertainty. So here are the 3 things you can expect when planning your first appointment:
1. A 30min Free Phone Consultation
Things you can expect to talk about during our phone consultation.
- I will ask how you learned about me.
- I will ask about your insurance/payment needs.
- I will tell you about myself briefly.
- I will ask if you have any questions about me or my services.
- I will ask what you are looking for in a provider.
If you decide to schedule a first session then I will send you an email with directions and some intake paperwork to fill out.
2. Your First Session or “Intake”
I will greet you in the waiting area and give you a short tour of the building. I will ask you if you found my office alright. I will ask if you had any questions on the paperwork. I will provide you with some additional paperwork (and apologize for the paperwork cuz it’s annoying) and highlight for you some important information. I will share more information about me and answer any other questions you might have. Then I will ask you:
- What brings you to counseling at this time? Why now?
- What events or experiences have led you here?
- What are your goals for treatment?
- What do you wish could improve for you? Relationally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually etc?
- Have you been to therapy before and what is your mental health history?
Further, I may ask you to share your story in as much or as little detail as you wish. Depending on your situation and your goals I might ask you about your family of origin. At the end of the session I will recap your goals and offer any insights as I see fitting. We will discuss frequency of sessions and schedule our next session. Finally, I will ask if you came prepared to pay for your session today. You may chose to pay via cash, credit, debit or HSA.
3. Discerning Fit
The first couple sessions are about gathering the information needed to provide you with the best treatment possible. It’s about us getting to know each other and discerning fit. A first session doesn’t make you committed to working with me long term. Think of the first 2 sessions as “trial sessions” to discern whether we together can achieve your goals.
I would recommend attending at least 2 sessions before deciding if your therapist/counselor is a good fit for you. Be proactive and open about what you need and what you are hoping to achieve. If we both decide you would benefit from additional or different kind of support I will provide you with at least 3 referrals for you to check out. However, if we decide to continue our work together congratulate yourself on taking this important steps toward self-growth, greater well-being and a healthier, better you! Therapy has helped countless people attain healthier lives and improved relationships. Don’t let fear or uncertainty stand in your way of achieving a more satisfying life!
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Get started on the path to improving your life and relationships!