The decision to seek therapy is probably one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. But if you are like many people, the decision comes with reservations about what to expect.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
The first thing that your therapist wants to know is why you sought therapy in the first place.
People come to therapy for many reasons. Clients in our practice are often facing some form of Traumatic experience or race-related trauma. But people see therapy for many other reasons as well. Examples include marital discord, feelings of sadness, grief, and/or anxiety. Some people struggle with eating disorders while other people struggle with addictive behaviors. The point is, while a therapist can often treat many problems, there are specific reasons that you need help and you want to share those with your therapist in your first therapy session.
Your therapist will also ask you about your personal history and current situation.
Many people don’t want to talk about their past because they find that it’s irrelevant. But a trained therapist is prepared to support you and help you connect your past experiences with your current situations. By providing your therapist with feedback about your past, you are better preparing your therapist to assist you to get your life on track for future situations.
Your therapist will inquire about your current as well as expected medication management needs.
More specifically, your therapist will want to know if you have used or are using any psychotropic medication and inquire about any potential side effects as a result. The therapist will also likely want to know if you would like to receive medication management in addition to your current psychotherapy as well. Another perspective that is important to consider, is if you have been on medication in the past. Answering these questions doesn’t mean that you have to be on medication in order to receive psychotherapy, but having the information is a great tool to assist your therapist as they explore options for medication management as a complement to psychotherapy.
Your therapist will also ask about your current symptoms.
The therapist will want to know if you are having mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia or excessive sleep, loss of interest in activities, increase or decrease in weight gain, etc. This will help guide the therapist or what areas to focus on so that they would know how to help you deal with them better.
Your therapist will also help you develop a treatment plan.
This will take into consideration the responses to your Assessment, your symptoms, and explore your goals for treatment. Oftentimes these are measurable and include the start and end date.
Your therapist will also want to know what is working for you.
While your relationship will grow with your therapist, it helps if your therapist has an idea of things that you already knew worked well. For instance, knowing that you have a creative personality might help us understand the importance of adding creative art therapy to the traditional talk therapy experience. Sure your therapist should be able to figure this out on their own, but it helps to have an idea of what you already do well in advance to help guide your therapist.
Your therapist will also want to know if you have been in treatment before and if so what has worked.
If you have not been in treatment at all, your therapist will likely want to know why now is the perfect time to begin this work.
In a nutshell, the first session is one of the most important sessions you will have because it lays the foundation for the treatment that you will receive.
It is important for you to do all that you can to be as honest and authentic with your therapist so that your therapist can be the most helpful to you.
If you would like to begin your psychotherapy sessions now, we are here to help. Please schedule your 15 minute consultation and let’s get started.