A smiling face hands you a packet of forms, and asks for a copy of your driver’s license and insurance card. You glance at the first couple of questions as you take a seat between a woman savagely picking at her nails, and a man who is laying across two chairs in the fetal position, “How would you rate your mood today?” You chuckle to yourself. Do they want the truth, or do they want some rehearsed generic answer?
Here’s a look at what to expect during your first therapy session.
The Basics: First Therapy Session
Lots of forms, questions asking you to rate the level of your discomfort, and how likely you are to harm yourself or others. After your anxiety has a chance to get nice and high in the waiting room, a nurse (or your actual therapist, depending on how large your facility is) will come and escort you to a little office with gentle light, posters reminding you that the ocean needs waves to turn (or something super corny like that) and an impossible choice between a couch and an uncomfortable looking chair.
Just like your first day of class, this session is all about getting to know you. If you are uncomfortable talking about yourself, this is the part where you collect your things, and leave, as therapy is ALL about self-discovery and conversations that may make you want to claw your eyes out.
Your therapist will discuss a game plan for your treatment. What are your goals, what do you hope to gain from therapy, what length of time are you wanting to participate, will medication be included?
Before you know it, the 45 minute period will be up. You will be left asking, “is that it?” Go home, get some rest, and get ready for your next session. This is when the real work begins.
Here’s the Good News
You will probably walk out feeling a little lighter. The anxiety and nerves will have dissipated, and you may find yourself wanting to share your experience with a close friend or family member. For me, the rest of the day after a session would leave me walking on air. There is just something so soothing about a person who is there to listen to you, uninterrupted, with no judgement. This 45 minute window may be the little breath of fresh air you need.
If you are nervous or unsure if therapy is for you, the best thing you can do is try. From someone who has been to many sessions, who has experienced the positive and negatives of structured sessions, I can tell you that having an un-biased, objective person is sometimes the key to healing. Your therapist is there for you. They are excellent resources, that should be used without stigma. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing a little help sometimes!
If you connected to this read, stick around for this little series I have created on all things therapy.
Sending you sunshine,