It’s normal to feel a bit nervous about your first counselling or psychotherapy session, particularly if you have never seen a counsellor or psychotherapist before. After all, you are about to share some deep feelings with a stranger.
You might feel more comfortable if you take some time before your visit to think about what is troubling you and why you have decided to seek help. Maybe even make some notes about questions you would like to ask.
Your therapist will probably start by introducing themselves and asking you a few questions, such as your name, address, and the name of your medical practitioner. They may also ask if you have any current medical issues, and if you have seen a counsellor or psychotherapist previously,
Following this, your Counsellor/Psychotherapist will explain the counselling process to you. They will probably ask you to sign a Therapy Agreement. This outlines details about confidentiality, fees and cancellations. You will be given a copy, and the therapist will keep one on file.
You will be gently invited to share your concerns. Your therapist may start the conversation by asking “what brings you here?”
What Happens in a Session?
Initially, you will take time to get to know each other, and develop a rapport, then you will be gently guided to talk about what is troubling you. The session is yours, and there is no rush to achieve anything. The therapeutic process is a matter between both you and your therapist.
Over time, you will probably feel more comfortable about speaking more openly about what is worrying you. Some situations can be difficult to put into words, and you may be invited to use movement, sound, role play, or perhaps drawing. to express yourself. The choice is yours.
There is nothing you can’t talk about in therapy. If you feel anxious about this, you might like to start here. No problem is too big or too small.
My role is to support you and your process, in a non-judgemental space of safety and trust. This is a place where you can feel free to fully express yourself. I will not offer to “fix” things for you, but will help you to find your own solutions.
Concluding Your Session
When you have about 10 minutes left, I will start to “wind up” the session, and review what we have covered. I may ask for feedback, such as how you felt about the session, and if there is anything else you would like to discuss before you leave. If you are not feeling comfortable, I would like to know this.
To conclude the session, I will probably invite you to make another appointment. I may suggest more sessions if I feel there is more to work on, but the final decision is up to you.
Generally, you could expect to have 3 to 5 sessions initially, but you may need more to fully unfold a situation. You should be starting to feel better after this, but there are no “quick fixes” in therapy.
Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and many people find that addressing emotional issues can also help with physical complaints.