What to Expect
By deciding to start therapy you’ve taken the first step toward improving your well-being and feeling better about yourself and your life situation. Whatever your reason for seeking help, you may feel more at ease and get better results if you know what to expect.
Your first therapy session will be mostly introductory, a time when you and your therapist can get acquainted. Your therapist will ask you questions about yourself and your background and what brought you to therapy. You’ll be able to ask questions, too. (Subsequent sessions will be more therapeutic in nature, with each one building on previous ones.)
If sharing personal details about yourself with someone you just met seems a little counterintuitive or awkward, don’t worry. Your therapist understands this and will guide the conversation in a natural way to help you feel safe talking about yourself. As you and your therapist build a relationship, you may find it’s actually a relief to talk to someone who doesn’t have a personal stake in your life other than that you achieve your goals and feel happy.
To help you succeed in therapy
Before your first session, write down some of your thoughts and questions to bring with you. These might include the reasons you’re seeking counseling, what you hope to get out of therapy, and questions about the therapy process.
Consider taking notes during your sessions. This is a good way to help you remember your therapist’s insights and suggestions as well as your own questions and ideas.
Rest assured that information you share in session is confidential and will not be shared with anyone unless agreed upon by you and your therapist. (Only in rare circumstances when a patient is a danger to themselves or others may a therapist break confidentiality.)
Expect your sessions to last 45-60 minutes. How often you come for counseling will be determined by your individual needs and the goals set by you and your therapist. The duration of your therapy (how long you’re in therapy over time) can depend on several factors, including the concerns you’re working on, your specific goals and the type of therapeutic approach.
Have realistic expectations. Therapy isn’t a quick fix for what concerns you. It takes time, and it take hard work and commitment. Facing your issues head-on can be emotionally draining and, in some cases, can make you feel worse before you feel better. Remember, therapy is a process.
Be open and honest. Progress depends on your willingness to talk candidly about your thoughts and feelings and to share your experiences, past and present, even if you feel embarrassed. Your therapist will not shame or judge you. If you feel anxious about sharing certain information, let your therapist know that. Keeping important information to yourself could impede your progress. If you can’t bring yourself to say something, ask to write it down.
The client-therapist fit is very important. If after the first session or two you feel your therapist isn’t the right fit for you, call our business office and ask to see someone else. It’s important to therapeutic success that you feel connected to your therapist. We will be happy to help you choose another therapist.