What to expect at your first therapy appointment.Great question! When you make the decision to begin counseling, you take a significant step toward obtaining mental and emotional health for yourself and your relationships (aka: feeling better!). However, I understand that if you don’t know what to expect from the process, it can feel a bit scary. This is normal. Please know, one of my top priorities is that you feel safe in process of therapy and in our therapeutic relationship. If you have any questions or concerns as we begin, please bring them to my attention before or during our first session.
During your first appointment, there will be several documents to complete, so please arrive 15 minutes early. Please bring a photo ID and insurance ID card. When you arrive, please have a seat in our waiting room. The waiting room offers a serene and private experience and so it requires all cell phones to be kept on vibrate or silenced and all conversations to be outside of the office.
At your appointment time, I will greet you and invite you into my office. I like to think of my office as a private and peaceful sanctuary, a safe place.
I will make sure your questions are answered and accept payment at this time, so we can then focus on what brings you in.
Here you will be invited to share your story or as much info as you are comfortable with and we will begin to identify what you are seeking help.
I will find out from you what is not working and help identify ways we can work together to make it better.
Our first session will primarily be a time to get to know me for you to determine if I am a good fit for you, identify what brought you to therapy, as well as, to establish how I can help you to reach your goals for therapy.
Sometimes a person doesn’t have any specific goals for therapy and that is okay too. Therapy is also a place for you to be yourself – to process your thoughts and feelings.
This early time is significant as I come to understand your history and any other contributing factors related to your therapy goals. If all goes well, we will then decide how often we will meet and what you wish to work on together.
Keep in mind, that you are in control.
You are hiring me to provide you with a service – professional counsel. You are paying for my education, knowledge, and expertise.
You decide how much information you provide and in the time frame you feel comfortable. You never have to lie and it is up to you and in the time frame you feel comfortable to share information about YOUR story.
You do not have to share anything you don’t feel comfortable. You have the right to say no, to decline, or to shake your head.
A therapist should never be a “drill sergeant” or force someone to share anything too soon, or share when they do not want to.
A therapist should never sit behind a laptop and to record clinical notes during your session. It is dehumanizing and devaluing!!! You have a right for the focus to be on you and you deserve attentiveness.
Therapy is a team effort, and as a team our purpose is to accomplish the goals YOU desire to reach— including feeling better and experiencing the change/results you seek!
I want to encourage you to be realistic and patient about the therapeutic process, as therapy is rarely a quick fix, but rather a rich process that requires time, as well as, a trusting relationship is built between us.
Lasting, permanent, and meaningful change takes time and is done in small steps that build on one another.