Your First Therapy Session
Going to see a therapist for the first to time to have your first therapy session, it’s quite normal to be nervous.
Talking to somebody who you have never met before about things you have probably not talked about is a big step. I don’t expect you to tell me everything straight away. If you have come to therapy to work through issues in your past, I understand that it can take a while for you to open up the experiences from the past which caused the trauma.
We will sit together in a quiet room where you can be confident no-one else can hear what you are saying. You won’t also be lying on a couch! If you are seeing me online, I would be in a quite room on my own with my head phones on to ensure that only I can hear your voice.
I will then ask you about what has brought you here, what is going on and how you are feeling.
I may ask about your (and your family’s) medical and mental health history, whether you have seen a counsellor or therapist before and what you got out of your sessions, if anything. I will also need to know if you are taking any medications for psychological reasons. As we talk, I will get a sense of who you are and what is concerning you.
Sometimes the verbal content of a session isn’t the most important information. Your body language, posture, tone of voice and the feelings that you have as you are talking are also very important. That is part of how I work and I try to maintain awareness of these things as well as paying attention to what you are saying.
In general, I tend to work in both an open-ended and structured way depending on what you want to get out of therapy.
Therapy works best when you feel safe to bring your spontaneous thoughts, feelings and ideas to the therapy session for us to reflect on and work through. We might talk about what has happened during the week and how it relates to events from the past or to assumptions, feelings and “working models,’ and your worldview.
There may also not be immediate relief, but therapy can help you develop coping strategies and emotional regulation techniques which can assist in the short term. As the therapy goes on, the aim is to provide opportunities to process difficult experiences and emotions in a safe and more controlled way.
Just remember that therapy takes time, and results are hard to see at the beginning. It’s like building a house brick-by-brick and takes a considerable commitment on the part of both client and therapist.