Have you been thinking about beginning therapy but you don’t know what starting looks like? It can be really intimidating to prepare for your first therapy session with a new therapist. Here are some answers to five commonly asked questions about what your first session might be like.
How Will We Talk?
We can talk over Zoom or Skype, depending on your preference and which works best for you. They’re both online platforms where you’ll be able to see my face and hear my voice.
I see most of my clients through Zoom. This means I’ll send you a link and a password, and you’ll use these to join our session when the time comes.
If something goes wrong with the technology, I’ll send you a quick email to make sure everything’s ok, and then we’ll try to jump on another platform.
What Should I Talk About?
It’s ok if you don’t know what to say during the first session. I know that it can be daunting and difficult to think of what you want to talk about, so I’ll be prepared to ask gently prompting questions and to help you work out what you’d like to discuss.
It’s also ok if you say a lot during the first session! Some people find themselves talking much more than they realised they would, and I’ll be with you to listen to your story. However much you find yourself saying, there’s no right or wrong way to talk during a session.
It’s also ok to discuss anything you like during the first session. It often depends on how comfortable you feel with talking about your issues right off the bat – you might feel the need to jump right in, or you might want to take things really slowly. Both of those, and anything in between, are totally fine!
I’m Really Nervous! Is That Normal?
It’s incredibly normal to feel nervous about your first therapy session, whether this is your first ever session or you’ve had therapy before! You’re meeting a new person and wondering what the work we’ll do together will be like, which is understandably nerve-wracking. Chances are I’ll be feeling just a little nervous, too, as well as feeling excited to see you and curious about what you have to say.
You might be feeling any number of ways – maybe you’ll be frightened, excited, uncomfortable, or sad. All of this, and anything else you might be feeling, is totally ok and normal. I’m used to people expressing lots of different emotions during therapy and I won’t be offended or worried if you’re feeling a certain way about starting therapy. My job is to help you get through it!
How Will I Feel After the Session?
My hope is that you’ll leave feeling supported by me and at least a little better than you did before, whatever better might look like for you. There are lots of ways you might feel, though, as first sessions can bring up a lot of thoughts, feelings, and even bodily sensations. You might find yourself feeling refreshed and energised about your goals; you might experience a new hopefulness about the future; you might feel confused and a little unsettled as you start touching on different emotions; you might even find yourself needing a good cry. I’ll always try to check in with you at the end of sessions to see how you’re doing and to ask if there’s anything you need from me before you go.
Will Anyone Else Find Out?
Whatever we discuss during our first session will be kept completely between us (except in very specific circumstances, which we’ll chat about before we get started). That means you can let me know what’s on your mind and know that your issues are safe with me.
I’ve made sure the room I work in is private and as quiet as I can make it. That means nobody should overhear what we’re talking about. It’s very important to me that you feel safe and secure about the privacy of your sessions.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you know the conversation will be confidential from where you are. If you can, find a private, comfortable space where you know you’ll be alone for an hour without anyone overhearing you. Having a door you can lock and headphones you can wear can also help. Choosing a time when anyone you live with is out, or telling them you need silence and privacy during and maybe after the session, can feel really helpful.
Of course, you’re very welcome to speak to your friends and family about your experience with your first session and how you think it went!
Hopefully this has answered a few of your questions and helped you to feel more at ease about your first session. I try my best to help you feel comfortable and confident during your first session as I know how difficult they can be. The next step is to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin your new beginning!