Taking the first step toward one’s mental health does require one to muster up a lot of courage and strength. Once you have made the first appointment you might ponder on what to expect and what not to expect from your first session.
Contrary to the popular beliefs of the therapist being a problem solver or telling you what to do and what not to do, it has very little to do with rights and wrongs but instead helps you draw the focus towards yourself and things in your control, your responses and choices to the given circumstances.
Mentioned below are a few things one can expect out of an initial therapy session:
Getting to know one another
The first session of therapy will include you and your therapist getting to know one another and building a rapport, therapist-client boundaries are discussed as well. Since the initial sessions are about getting to know one another and involve initial assessment, there might be a series of questions your therapist might ask you to understand you and your experiences better.
Depending upon the therapist's approach, questions regarding the client's childhood, relationships, education, jobs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours might be asked which may often make the client experience more than one emotion. Clients may feel like opening Pandora's box while sharing their experiences. Some therapists may work with what the client brings in instead of asking a series of questions if the client is feeling overwhelmed already.
Initial sessions can get overwhelming for the client, so it's completely alright to go at your pace and start with discussing experiences you are comfortable discussing.
Understanding that it’s not always rainbows and butterflies sometimes encountering/ exploring certain experiences and emotions can get messy. It's crucial for the healing process that we be patient and take baby steps towards our goals.
Goal setting is done at the start of the sessions as it helps the therapist and client to work towards the desired outcome. It is important to establish goals for your therapist to create an effective treatment plan. Taking Clients' intention for therapy into account and their expectations by collaborating with the therapist they can formulate achievable, measurable and realistic goals and work towards them session by session.
Healing doesn't happen overnight
Understanding that therapy is not a quick fix but a gradual collaborative process. It's natural for the client to be excited or eager to find solutions to their concerns, but it is also important to remember that healing is a process, and it's not always going to happen overnight.