Any therapy session can seem daunting. Opening up to a stranger feels like a monumental task, or even downright impossible. So, having a few misgivings about the first session is normal.
Still, your first therapy session doesn’t have to be frightening. In fact, with a little prep work, you can expect a positive experience. Let’s go over what to expect and how you can ready yourself beforehand.
How to Prepare
How do you prepare for a therapy session? The answer varies for everyone. We all have have different needs and expectations.
It helps to start by identifying your emotions. What are you feeling right now? Do you have any concerns about therapy? What do you feel consistently troubles you?
You don’t have to just focus on what’s “wrong.” Think about a goal you want to accomplish after you start therapy. Where do you want to be after, say, 5 sessions?
Keep a running list and read that list out loud to yourself. Tuck it away somewhere safe for you to reference later. You’ll be needing it.
Honesty & Establishing Needs
Here’s the thing. Therapy doesn’t work without honesty. And therapy is something that you’re going to have to work at. Many people hold onto the misconception that simply attending sessions leads to improvement.
I wish I could say it was that simple. Unfortunately, it’s not. There may be times where you have to dig up some uncomfortable stuff. And it will feel EXHAUSTING. That’s part of the process.
That’s why it’s important to communicate and establish boundaries with your therapist. Express what your triggers are as soon as possible. Your therapist will work to ensure you feel comfortable enough to open up to them.
What Questions Should I Ask?
It’s expected you’ll be curious as well as cautious. In fact, any therapist worth their salt expects plenty of questions and concerns.
You may hear words or phrases you don’t quite understand. Ask for clarity and don’t be afraid to speak up. Your therapist wants to help you. You shouldn’t feel intimidated or ignored.
Refer to the list I mentioned earlier and bring it with you if you’re worried you’ll forget any concerns you might have.
What Happens After Your Therapy Session?
Hard part’s over right? You made it through your first session! So, now what?
Now, it’s time to do a mental and emotional check-in. What are you feeling? HOW are you feeling? Identify your thoughts and emotions as clearly as possible.
Consider also how you felt about your therapist. Did you feel a connection? Do you feel like they were listening to your concerns? Not every therapist will be a good match, and that’s okay. You may end up trying out several before you find someone you feel comfortable with.
Develop a Strong Foundation
Many instances of depression or anxiety can be traced back to low self-worth. A positive outlook on life can be achieved through improving self-esteem. My book, Life After Low Self-Esteem, shows how that can be accomplished.
Remember. Therapy isn’t a quick-fix, and it doesn’t have to be terrifying. With preparation and patience, you’ll succeed.