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What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session

Jonathan Riley

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” ― John Green

For the many people who have yet to seek the mental health care they need, lingering questions about what to expect in therapy can create added anxiety. Contrary to what you may see in movies or TV shows, therapy is not always a dramatic process where you lie on a couch and spill your deepest secrets. The therapy process is more nuanced and complex than you might expect.

Schedule a free phone consultation before making an appointment.

At My Practice, we offer free initial phone consultations to people who are considering making an appointment with us. During the consultation, you can ask any preliminary questions you may have about us, including how we work with people, our approach to the issues you hope to address, and anything else that is important to you. This can be a valuable way to learn more about My Practice and to determine whether we are the right fit for your needs.

During your first therapy session, your therapist will likely ask you a series of questions in order to better understand your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. These questions may include:

  • What brought you to therapy?
  • How is your mental health?
  • Have you been experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions?
  • What medications are you currently taking?
  • Have you been in therapy before? If so, what worked and what didn’t?
  • Issues that you hope to address?
  • How would you like things to be different?

These questions are designed to help your therapist gain a better understanding of your current situation and to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Think About Your Goals

Before starting therapy, it can be helpful to take some time to reflect on your therapy goals and what you hope to achieve from the process. Everyone’s reasons for seeking therapy are unique and personal, and there are no right or wrong reasons to seek help. To help you identify your therapy goals, consider what brought you to therapy and how you hope to feel when you leave.

It’s Okay to Be Nervous

If you’re feeling anxious about your therapy sessions, it can be helpful to remember that you don’t need to have a specific topic or issue to discuss in order for the session to be productive. In fact, sometimes the sessions where you think you have nothing to talk about can lead to the biggest breakthroughs. Your therapist is trained to ask questions and guide the conversation in a way that ensures each session is productive and stays on track. So, even if you’re not sure what to talk about, your therapist will be able to help you explore the underlying issues and make progress in your therapy.

Therapy Is Confidential

It’s important to remember that therapy is 100% confidential. This means that anything you share in therapy will remain between you and your therapist, and will not be shared with anyone else unless you give your therapist permission to do so. There are certain exceptions to this rule, such as when you disclose information about harm to yourself, harm to others, or child or elder abuse. In these cases, your therapist may have a legal obligation to disclose the information to the appropriate authorities. However, they will always have a conversation with you before doing so, and will only disclose the information if it is necessary to protect your safety or the safety of others.

We May Write a Lot of Stuff Down

At My Practice, we use patient notes to help us prepare for each therapy session and to address any issues that came up in previous sessions. During your first visit, your therapist may take notes during the session as a way to get to know you better and understand your concerns. This is a common practice in therapy, and it can help your therapist develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. If your therapist is taking notes during the session, it is perfectly okay to ask what they are writing. We are committed to transparency and open communication, and we want you to feel comfortable and informed during the therapy process.

Don’t Be Surprised If You’re Assigned Homework

It is not uncommon for your therapist to give you homework to complete between sessions. This is a normal part of the therapy process and is intended to help you make progress and achieve your therapy goals. Homework assignments can take many forms, such as reflecting on a specific topic, talking to someone about an issue, reading a recommended book, or changing a behaviour or habit. These assignments allow you to practise and apply the skills and strategies you learn in therapy, and they can help you progress towards your goals. Your therapist will be there to support and guide you through the process.

Remember That Change Takes Time

It’s important to remember that therapy is a process, and it may take time to see significant progress and achieve your goals. Try not to expect too much from a single therapy session, and remember that therapy is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions during and after your therapy sessions, and you may feel excited, uplifted, or drained after your session. These emotions are all normal, and they will pass with time.

Finally, your therapy session is a safe space for you to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, and to consider what is going on in your life. By making the decision to seek therapy, you are taking a positive step towards improving your mental and emotional well-being, and your future self and loved ones will thank you for it. So, be patient and persistent, and remember to celebrate the small steps and progress that you make along the way. With time and effort, you can achieve your therapy goals and build a stronger, healthier, and happier life.

If you’re interested in scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with us, book online today.