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What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session

So it is time for the first session…

You’re about to walk or log in. What can you expect? It’s okay to feel nervous!

Most likely, this will be an intake for you and the therapist. Some initial fundamentals will be covered, such as confidentiality, expectations, practice policies, and other essential therapy factors. Typically, there is specific information your therapist is looking for as part of the intake process, but they may lead by simply asking what brought you together that day.

Your therapist is a trained listener for providing perspective, empathy, and guidance. Your intake is your opportunity to share your challenges and concerns. You may have an idea of what you’d like to work on, but don’t worry if you don’t. Just be as open as possible, keeping in mind that trust takes time to build. Your role in this first session is to reveal as much as you feel comfortable so the therapist can understand how to help.

Appointments are usually an hour long and often feel too short! There may be a lot to cover, and of course, you and your therapist are just getting to know each other. It is okay if you leave with lingering questions, doubts, or concerns. You may find it takes a few appointments to decide if the therapist is right for you and if you are seeing any traction with where you both are going. Therapy is a process, so allowing some time to process it is okay! I recommend you give therapists a few tries unless you are sure it isn’t a good match. Sometimes you will just know!

A Therapist in Columbus, Ohio is supposed to help guide you, so if you are unsure what direction to go, it is important to communicate, as they want to help you. If you feel stuck, it is also okay to address this with your therapist. But as much as your therapist is there to help you, the power for change is ultimately in your own hands. It might be hard to hear, but the therapist’s wish is to guide you so you can help yourself. And often, people already have the tools and answers deep within.

Remember that sometimes your resistance to therapy or a therapist is not a sign it is not working. Therapy can be a difficult process that brings up emotional discomfort. Try to communicate your feelings so you and your therapist can weather the storms together.

Maybe you’ve had a few appointments. What is the end goal?

Goal setting begins early in the therapeutic process, including your therapy’s possible expiration date. While some situations are ongoing and therapeutic relationships can last for years, all have a beginning and an end. While this may sound negative, it is essential for you and the therapist.

You come in with a problem and want results. Your therapist is interested in helping you find them, but this also means that there is a point where your work together concludes. Therapists would rather see you thrive on your own than see you forever.

While goals may change, life events happen, and new issues are unearthed, this may extend the due date. Ultimately, the underlying goal is for you to achieve resiliency and independence. So again, your therapist may be happy to see you, but they’d be happier seeing you grow out of them.

Also, developing constant feedback with your therapist where you evaluate your goals and direction is crucial to the course of your therapy. If your therapist isn’t checking in with you about your goals, you must speak up and ask where you are going. Therapy is a partnership where you both work together toward your goals.

Therapy can be much like a journey, and a therapist like a guide. It all begins with your first step.


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