The first session: what to expect when we first meet.

You’ve made the call. You’ve made the appointment, and now you’re waiting for that first session. Questions may have started to bubble since you added it to your calendar…Am I overreacting? Do I really need therapy? What does this mean about my problems…about me? Will she judge me if she knows everything I tell her?

Let me say, these questions are NORMAL.

If you’ve never been to therapy before it is quite an odd thing. You’re meeting with a stranger to talk about things you may not even talk about with your closest friends. Yet, that’s also the great thing. While we personally are not familiar yet, trust that I am familiar with the kind of pain that people just like you can suffer. My whole professional career and training is geared towards listening to what you have to say, sitting with you in your pain, or cheering with you in your triumphs.

When we first meet I will want to know where you stand and what you need. That means a couple things.

  1. We will do some intros. I want to hear about you, and I’ll tell you about me.
  2. We will do some housekeeping to talk about guidelines that keep me and you safe and protected and you feeling secure in your privacy in therapy.
  3. I will ask questions. The traditional term ‘evaluation’ comes to mind but it’s not so cold as this. Less checkbox ticking and more comprehensive knowledge gathering to paint the canvas that is the picture of you.
  4. We settle on style. This is your decision. Do you want someone to just listen, and be a comforting space for you to process on your journey? Perhaps hands on guidance and accountability is what you require. Maybe you’re not sure. We can figure that out together, too.
  5. You will ask me questions. I encourage all my clients to be curious. This may be new for you, and while I have been doing this for some time now, you are new to me! Please ask me anything you want to know about therapy, mental health, and this journey of life.
  6. We look to the future. When do we meet again to get started. The next session we will plan, a loose kind of plan, to help us stick to what you want changed in your life (or kept the same) and how you want that to look.

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” – Brene Brown