If you’re like most of us, it probably takes you some time to admit you’re dealing with something difficult to handle on your own. However, once you come to the conclusion it’s time to seek professional help, you’ll most likely be relieved that you’re finally taking some action.
Your first mental health therapy session will lead you down the path toward successful resolution of your challenging emotional issues.
Make the most of your first appointment with these tips:
1. Complete pre-planning. When you call the office for the first appointment, focus on the office staff’s instructions. Have pen and paper ready as they’ll likely tell you what to bring, such as your identification and insurance cards. During the call, inquire about costs for services and how long the sessions will last.
• Confirm the street address for the office location and ask for specific directions or landmarks nearby.
2. Arrive 15 minutes prior to appointment. The office staff will have forms for you to complete.
• It’s important to be present when the therapist is ready for you. They often schedule clients consecutively and won’t have excess time between sessions to accommodate late-comers.
3. Be cooperative. Although you’re unsure of the process, the more helpful you are with the therapist, the better able they are to assist you. Strengthen your resolve to do what’s necessary to feel better.
4. Recognize the therapist does considerable information-gathering during the first session. Because the therapist needs your personal history to understand your situation, they’ll inquire about various parts of your life.
• The therapist will ask, “Who lives with you,” “What kind of work do you do,” and “How long have you been married, divorced, living with your parents,” or whatever your current situation. They’ll likely inquire if you’ve had counseling before or ever seen a psychiatrist.
5. Openly respond to any questions asked. Some people find it unnerving to reveal personal business to a therapist. However, the more open you are, the more smoothly your sessions will move forward and ensure a satisfactory conclusion.
• Use “feeling” words to help the therapist understand what you’re experiencing. Words like, “sad,” “hurt,” “angry,” and “disappointed” will shed light on your current emotional situation for the therapist. Embrace this opportunity to heal by sharing feelings honestly.
6. Accept that you might shed tears. During your first session, you might cry because you’re relieved to be finally “unloading” your feelings. Also, opening up about situations that have been troubling you taps into feelings that could trigger crying. Go ahead and let go.
7. Be willing to return for a second session if the therapist recommends it. Even if you’re unsure about how the session went, attend a second session. You’ll probably feel better a few days after the first session and even better still after the second.
Attending your first mental health therapy session can be very motivating. Rest assured, it’s completely normal to seek out professional help when you feel the need. With these tips, you’re ready to embark upon what could be one of the most enriching, enlightening adventures of your life!