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January 25, 2024
Stepping Into Therapy? Let This Be Your Guide

Wayne Gray

A woman sitting on a couch speaking to a therapist who is sitting in a chair across from her.

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I'm Going to Start Therapy, Now What?

Take a moment and think about an occasion where you made a decision knowing, in the long run, the benefits would be immeasurable. Maybe it was pursuing your “dream job”, moving to a new city, or falling in love and committing to a relationship. Can you recall the feelings that came along when making that decision? Starting therapy will often bring about similar emotions so let’s not create any more suspense with a layer of mystery. Simply put, therapy is care-focused communication aimed at addressing your thoughts, feelings and emotions. And think of each session as ascending a staircase step moving you toward the upper floor.

What Should I Expect In A Session?

Deciding to work on yourself with the help of a qualified therapist should be an exciting time. Having an understanding of what to expect in your sessions is the creamy frosting on your therapy cake. There are 3 essential themes that sessions bring to the therapy environment:

  1. Sessions should bring richness in understanding when exploring the narrative that may be challenging you in any number of ways.
  2. Sessions should help to provide you with perspectives that foster introspection and insight thereby creating feelings of optimism and desired progress.
  3. Sessions should promote the process of increased participation, reinforcing an environment where vulnerability, trust, and safety exist.

The First Session Will Set the Tone

Like a first date, your first session with your therapist will carry that kind of vibe. Getting the opportunity to know one another better and beginning to identify what priorities, preferences, and approaches will likely be explored moving forward. You may be asked questions like:

“How did you arrive at your decision to pursue therapy?”

“Have you attended therapy before? If so, what was it like for you?”

“What is the most important thing you want to take away from being in therapy?”

Again, these questions help you and your therapist establish a framework of expectations and begin to build the foundation of what the needs are in this newly formed relationship. And speaking of questions, this is also a great time to come up with questions of your own for your therapist such as:

“Is this confidential?”

“When would you need to break confidentiality?”

“Have you ever been to therapy yourself?”

“What kind of things should I plan to do between our sessions?”

“Will you be giving me therapy homework?”

At the end of your first session take some time to check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you feel now in comparison to how you felt before you started. This is also a good time to ask yourself how you felt about your therapist and the level of comfort experienced there as well. A good therapeutic fit can never be overstated and will make future sessions that much more enjoyable.

Starting therapy is like embarking on a personal journey, reminiscent of making major life decisions. Therapy is a guided exploration of your thoughts and emotions, each session propelling you forward on a path of self-discovery. Anticipate valuable insights, fresh perspectives, and a space for openness. The first session sets the collaborative tone. Reflect afterward on your comfort level with the therapist, as a solid connection is key for future sessions to become steps toward genuine personal growth.


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