The New Client: How To Prepare For Your First Therapy Session

The time has arrived. Tired of struggling with the same problems, you’ve taken the nerve-wracking plunge. You’ve made the call, scheduled your appointment, and now you’re anticipating (and maybe even dreading!) what looms ahead.

For the first-timer, the therapy process often seems confusing and even unsettling. After all, what are you supposed to talk about- and what if you run out of things to say? What if you aren’t sure if you even need therapy? What if the therapist doesn’t like you?

Let’s get into what you need to know about preparing (and sailing through) your first therapy session!

Have An Open Mind

Therapy isn’t about quick fixes, magic cures, or mind-reading. It also isn’t just about you venting for an hour- while another person listens silently and nods. Therapy is about collaboration and problem-solving; it’s about building a genuine and compassionate relationship with someone who has your best interest at heart. Therapy is hard work, but the work tends to be worth it.

Before your first session, embrace having an open and curious frame of mind. Aim to release your preconceived notions and judgment. An open perspective will increase your chances for reaping positive benefits.

Determine Your Goals In Advance

Although this may come as a surprise, you don’t need to have a highly specific reason to enter therapy. You just need a basic sense of awareness of what isn’t working. 

However, identifying some therapy goals can provide you with a helpful framework for starting your treatment. A solid grasp on these goals helps therapists prepare themselves for using the best approach for your needs. It also allows you to prioritize your time and effort to maximize the most benefits from your sessions.

Remember that goals don’t need to be rigid or even permanent. It’s normal to want to work on one particular issue, and then realize that you have something else you also want to address.

Write Down Your Thoughts Or Concerns

Many people feel uneasy and reserved during their first therapy session. Of course, this is normal. You’re sitting across from a complete stranger, and you’re expected to share some very intimate details about your life! Due to these nerves, it’s common to downplay, avoid, or even forget talking about certain issues.

Do yourself a favor and consider writing down a few notes that you want to share during your first session. It could be some thoughts related to your therapy goals. It may also be relevant background information about your family, health, or job.

Your therapist wants you to get the most out of each interaction. However, participation and collaboration is a two-way street. The more effort and openness you bring to the session, the more your therapist can help you!

Speak Your Truth If Something Isn’t Working

Didn’t like something your therapist said? Did you feel uneasy at a certain point during the session? Are you questioning if you should return?

Being honest with your therapist- especially at the beginning- may feel awkward and uncomfortable, and you may feel worried about being judged or hurting the other person’s feelings.

However,  transparency can provide you with an invaluable perspective. On the one hand, it offers useful practice for you speaking your mind and asserting your needs. On the other hand, it also allows you to determine if your therapist is still an appropriate match. Good therapists understand their limitations, and they are open to feedback.

Therapy is all about you and your needs. If you feel like something isn’t working, but you don’t let your therapist know you risk compromising the overall quality of your care. You won’t get the most out of each session.

Not all therapists and clients work well together. When this happens, it isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, and your therapist won’t take the news personally. If you do need a switch, he or she can provide you with the appropriate referrals for people who may better suit your needs.

Final Thoughts On Preparing For Your First Therapy Session

42% of Americans have tried therapy at some point in their lives. Even if you’re nervous and uncertain about starting, know that thousands of people have had positive and even life-changing experiences!

Regardless of your issue, therapy can provide you with the tools, strategies, and support you need to promote a greater sense of healing.

Are you interested in starting therapy? Want to know more about what the process is about? Let’s connect! Contact me today to schedule your first therapy session.


4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 988-3363

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