Is this your first time in counseling or therapy? How do you know what to expect from the therapist or counselor? Or what to expect of yourself? Whatever your reasons for seeking help, you will feel better and see faster results if you know what to expect from your first therapy session.
The Basic Session. Most therapy sessions last 45 minutes, however, sometimes the session may be extended. Couples counseling sessions are sometimes an hour. People come to therapy for a number of reasons; therefore, there is no formula for what happens during a session. You are a unique individual and your treatment will be treated as such.
Be prepared. Before going into a therapy session, try to describe the specific issue that brought you and how you feel about it. The most important thing is to say what is on your mind, and what is bothering you. The more open and honest you can be with yourself and your therapist in the first session, the easier it will be to develop a treatment plan and goals for feeling better.
What will we talk about? We will talk about whatever is important to you or whatever is on your mind. Are you stressed, anxious, and depressed or having difficulty with a transition in life? Therapists are trained to ask the right question, but we cannot read minds. A particular issue probably led you to seek counseling and it is important for the therapist to understand how you experience your emotional life.
Ending a Session. In the last few minutes of a therapy session it is common to review what has information has been discovered, and then come up with a treatment plan. This is a good time to ask questions about the process or anything that was not clearly understood. The more you understand the process the more like you are to be comfortable in future counseling sessions.
It is important to have realistic expectations of the first therapy session. The first session is generally a consultation about gathering information and developing the therapeutic connection. A strong trusting relationship with the therapist and the environment will be beneficial for treatment to reach the end goal of feeling better as quickly as possible. Many people feel immediate relief after the first consult, but every case is different and how often you return will depend on your situation and how often you would like to come in. As you become comfortable there is no shortage of topics you may discuss.