Going to see a therapist for the first time, can be understandably nerve-racking, but if you know what to expect it it will likely put you at ease. Understand that taking this first step is something to celebrate, and that progress can happen quicker if you know what to expect from the experience.
Your first session with a therapist will be somewhat of an assessment, an opportunity for the therapist to get to know you, and why you’re there. It’s also an opportunity for you to get a feel for the therapist, and take the first step towards a safe relationship with that person.
Here’s what your first therapy session will likely look like:
- An understanding of what brought you to therapy: while you will uncover many layers during your therapy, it’s important to clarify a specific reason why you are seeking therapy. Therapists do an amazing job of seeing below the surface to deeper causes, but let them in on what’s on the surface level first.
- Your current symptoms and feelings: you will be asked by the therapist (and likely in a questionnaire too) about any symptoms you may be experiencing at the time. Things like: insomnia, flashbacks, loss of appetite, etc. Based on whatever type of trauma has led you to therapy, you will be asked a broad variety of questions regarding symptoms and emotions. Be honest with yourself and the therapist, there’s no shame in the safe space of a therapist’s room, and your progress comes quicker when you’re upfront about these types of things.
- Family tree and relationships: relationships and family origin play a big role in how we’re shaped, so your therapist will likely ask you a variety of questions about your family history and important relationships in your life.
- Be honest, be open, be ready: since you know now that your first session will largely be an interview (for which there are no wrong answers), try to formulate what your answers will be ahead of time.
Your therapist will probably leave you with something to think about for the next session, but keep in mind that therapy is a process not a quick solution. Be patient with yourself and the process, and you’ll reap the benefits of safe, open conversation.
If you’d like to learn about how you can access free therapy from a trauma therapist, read about our Therapy Grant Program. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and resources.
— Written by Amber Craig
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