The first therapy appointment usually involves the patient meeting a complete stranger who will be listening to parts of his or her life that no one else gets to hear about. Opening up yourself to a therapist and entrusting they will do everything they can to help you can be a scary experience, especially during the first appointment.
It’s time for you to not only be vulnerable and expressive but also deal with the problems you’ve kept to yourself with the help of a trained professional. Understand that it’s completely normal to feel anxious before seeing a counsellor or therapist. You simply don’t know what to expect which is why you may have feelings of anxiety when you think of beginning the process of counselling. While every therapist is different, the following guidelines can help you make your first therapy appointment effective.
You don’t necessarily have to go off Referrals
An important factor to consider when looking for a therapist is whether or not they specialize in whatever condition you’re looking help with. The fact that your physician, mom, or friend gave you a referral or suggested a particular therapist doesn’t mean this is the right one for you. Don’t just make an appointment with anyone. Take time to research potential therapists, checking out their specialties, counselling fees, and backgrounds.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Whether you’re suffering from unrelenting worries, depression, obsessive thoughts or any other type of anxiety disorder, it’s important that you be 100 percent honest with your therapist. You’re paying for the therapy sessions, so lying or giving half-truths is counterproductive. It is okay to feel emotional as there’s no prospect of being judged.
Consider Asking for a Free Phone Consultation before you make an Appointment
Don’t hesitate asking any preliminary questions you may have during your phone consultation with the therapist. You’re a new patient and the therapist will gladly respond to all your concerns. Find out what approach they might use for your anxiety disorder, ask them about their relationship with clients, and anything that you feel is important to you. You want to book an appointment with a therapist you feel relaxed and comfortable talking to.
Expect to Feel Uncomfortable at Times
Understand that therapists can’t help you if they don’t know what’s wrong. Your therapist won’t get angry or lose his or her cool during the session. You shouldn’t embarrassed bringing up things, even those that seem uncomfortable such as anger, fear, or rage. At first, you may feel your anxiety symptoms are exacerbated as you express yourself and work through the uncomfortable issues. Don’t hold back since this is what will help you work towards where you want to be.
If you have any Concerns, Let your Therapist Know
If you’re worried because your therapist looks offended, let him or her know so you can talk about it. Therapy should feel like a safe space where the patient is free and comfortable to say anything. If you feel pissed off, don’t understand what your therapist is saying, or are fearful of hat they’ll say, don’t hold back. Speak up so your therapist can understand your experiences and help you better.
If you’ve been working with a therapist for some time and you feel things aren’t working out, talk about ending your relationship. It’s better to find another therapist who can help you than ghosting your current therapist who is no longer service you.