Attending your first counseling session can feel a little like a first date. You might be nervous about what you are going to say, overthink what you are wearing, get nervous about how to get to the office or feel anxious about what your therapist will think of you. It's normal to feel anxious about new experiences, especially when you don't know what to expect. Beginning counseling is a brave step towards your journey of self-discovery and healing. After reading this article, you will have a clearer understanding of what to expect in your first counseling session and some tips to ease those first meeting jitters.
What to Expect at Your First Session: Your Arrival and Getting Comfortable
When you walk into our office, you may sit in one of the chairs or couch and wait for your therapist to walk you back to their office. Whether you're listening to music on your airpods, looking at your phone, reading a magazine, or taking deep breaths to relax, this time is for you. When it's your appointment time, your therapist will greet you in the waiting room, introduce themselves, and walk you back to the office. This is where your journey begins.
The Conversation: Building Trust and Comfort
Feeling nervous is natural. Opening up about yourself can be challenging with someone you are just getting to know. Our job is to create a non-judgmental and calm environment where we can build trust and comfort. You're the expert on yourself, so we'll start with background questions like those you filled out in the intake paperwork. Our goal is to understand your current life narrative and discuss what parts you want to change and what has worked for you in the past.
Next Steps: What Happens at the End of Your Session
We like to end our sessions with a summary of what was discussed and suggest practices that can be applied outside of therapy. This helps clients practice using the insight they gained in therapy in real life - practice what you preach. We will also discuss the frequency of sessions and schedule your next visit.
Three Helpful TIPS: Easing Into Your First Therapy Session
Here are some tips to help ease those first session jitters:
Finding a Good Fit: Take your time to find a therapist you feel connected with. For instance, you enjoy their therapeutic style or approach. We offer a free 15-minute consultation for this reason. During this consultation, you can get all your questions answered and chat with one of us to see if you get that connection you are looking for. Reading a therapist’s bio and reviews can also help in making an informed choice. It is ok to interview a few therapists, afterall, this is your journey.
Know What Brings You In: You do not have to prepare anything before your first session and it's ok to feel overwhelmed. Writing down questions or goals can provide some structure and help anchor your thoughts. For example, you can write down questions about what you want for your life, what success looks like, what less depression looks like, what less anxiety looks like or what you know about yourself. This can give you something tangible to bring with you into the session, which can make clients feel less alone and provides some structure. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask those who have been to therapy about their experience. You can also ask your counselor anything to make you feel more comfortable. Remember, we are here for you!
Be Open: Honesty is key in therapy. Whether you're exploring your identity or reconnecting with yourself, being open to new perspectives is vital. We are here to help support and guide you through this brave process. If you are questioning who you are or have lost touch with the feeling of “me,” do not worry. We meet you where you are. Being open means showing up for yourself and being willing to talk about yourself as you are. We are here to guide you to try new perspectives and ways of thinking, as well as accepting new ways of understanding.
We’d love to connect with you! Do you have more questions about what to expect in your first counseling session? Our team at Houston Feel Good Therapy is here to help. To schedule an appointment or consultation, call or text us at 832-966-0214 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to supporting you on your journey!