This is the time of year when it’s common for people to think about starting therapy. You may have decided that you want to approach a therapist and may have contacted someone and made a date for an initial consultation.
But then the reality of having the first session with a complete stranger starts to kick in.
Questions About Your First Therapy Session
Here are some useful questions to get answers for…
Where is the therapist based?
Will there be parking?
Is there a waiting room?
What time should I get there?
How can I pay for the session?
Practicalities of Your First Therapy Session
Practicalities About Your First Therapy Session
It’s a good idea to get the practicalities sorted before the day of the appointment so feel free to ask the therapist any questions to help you arrive prepared and on time. Once you arrive, I suggest you turn off your phone so that you can’t be tempted to look at it or think about it during the session.
What Will The First Therapy Session Be Like?
People often arrive understandably anxious and nervous.
It is very rare for most people to engage one on one with someone for 50 minutes without any interruptions or distractions. This is one of the main factors that makes therapy such a unique experience. Everyday conversation usually involves both people chatting and sharing information going backwards and forwards. When we go to our barber or hairdresser, for example, we often chat about other subjects and share stories and news. However, therapy isn’t like that. The focus is totally on you.
It feels different and I believe is a rare and often new experience to focus on oneself for the entirety of these 50 minutes. It can feel awkward at first, having all the attention in the room. The therapist should make it easy for you to speak. They may introduce themself first whilst you settle into the chair and have a look around and acclimatize to being in this new room with this new person.
The therapist may ask you questions and if you are struggling for something to say it’s perfectly fine to tell them this and hopefully, they will help you in your awkwardness.
The information the therapist wants from you is why you are seeking therapy. They need to know what issues you are hoping to explore and why you want to explore them and what you hope to get out of the therapy.
Once the therapist knows this information, they can help you figure out if they are the right person for you to work with.
Is This The Right Therapist For Me?
It’s really important to see how you are feeling in the session. If it’s tricky to think in the session, then give yourself time afterwards to reflect on how it went.
How did you feel in the room?
Could you talk easily to the therapist?
Did you feel listened to?
Did you feel the therapist understood you?
If not today, can you imagine trusting the therapist later on in the work?
Many questions and feelings can bubble up during and after an initial session….
It can feel self-indulgent and bring up feelings of guilt for some people.
How can I justify this time, attention, and money on myself?
My problems aren’t as serious as other people’s, I shouldn’t be here.
Am I wasting mine and the therapist’s time?
If you are aware of these thoughts, it’s best to voice them there and then. But if they come up afterwards feel free to contact the therapist who may invite you in for another one-off session to think about these important feelings before deciding to commit to ongoing work.
IS Therapy For Me?
Starting personal therapy is an investment in yourself in many ways. The process can get difficult, and it can feel worse before it feels better at times but learning more about ourselves and our inner world can lead to awareness and significant shifts in many aspects of our life and relationships.