5 Things to Know Before Your First Therapy Session


Here’s what to expect from your therapist along the way to a healthier you

Before your first therapy session

1. We really do care

As a mental health counselor, I often think about my clients and wonder how they’re coping with a particular aspect of their lives. I truly want the best for them! Therapists often go home at night or end sessions thinking about how we can further improve our work with our clients so they can find the most benefit. We do not give up… even if our clients feel like giving up! We are there and we provide a safe space to uncover and explore the way our clients really are feeling. As a therapist, we have chosen this field because we care and we will do our best to empower you to grow in the best possible way.

2. We do not give advice

Before your first therapy session, it’s useful to think of your goals for therapy. These will be extremely useful for your therapist to tailor the process for you. If you wish to be given an action plan of advice, this is not what therapy is about. But if you wish to work on processing your thoughts, emotions, and feelings whilst working on solutions that will enrich your life then therapy is for you! Your therapist will tell you what to do, ethically this is not appropriate as it may lead to situations that are not best for you. However, we can help you to reach the decision that you feel is best for you in the unique set of circumstances that you are facing.

3. Everything you are looking for is within you

It’s daunting thinking about your first therapy session, but know that you have all of the answers within and your therapist will work on empowering you to reach them. Have you ever felt a certain way but do not know how you’re really feeling? A therapist can help you to identify those feelings, emotions and associated thoughts within you and to begin working through those to find clarity, answers and hopefully solutions.

4. Therapy is not just about showing up but about real commitment and effort

You may feel tired after your first therapy session and that is because therapy is hard work! It’s not just about being present but about being there 100% to work on the issues that you have experienced in the past or perhaps current or future concerns. You may find your therapist gives you tasks to work on during the week and emotionally it can be overwhelming at first (or at certain times during the therapeutic process). This means that the processing is working. Give it some time and be honest with your therapist about your unique journey in therapy. If you feel like therapy is working then please tell your therapist the specific tools and insight they have provided that has lead you to feel the process has been successful. It’s just as important for you to be able to discuss with your therapist what is not working. Your therapist will use this feedback to enhance the process for you.

5. The right fit between client and therapist is vital

Trust your instinct. How does your therapist make you feel? Is the therapist warm and compassionate or cold and distant? Are you at ease or do you feel on guard? Trust your instincts and allow the process to begin. Building rapport with your therapist is vital for the therapeutic relationship to flourish. Building trust with your therapist can make you feel like you can put your trust in people again and begin to find a new healthier path in life.

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Posted: 07 March 2019


Lisa De Regt, MBPsS

Lisa is a licensed mental health counselor with an eclectic style of therapy to fit every client's needs.

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