If you’ve just scheduled your very first therapy appointment, you might be feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves. It’s perfectly natural to be nervous – therapy puts you in a unique situation that can feel vulnerable and foreign.
The good news is, there are things you can do ahead of time to help prepare yourself and ease some of those first-appointment jitters.
How to prepare for your first therapy session:
Fill out your Paperwork
Most therapists will send you paperwork to fill out before your first appointment. They’re usually available online somewhere (at Neurocore, we email our clients ahead of time with everything they need to fill out).
These forms will likely include standardized symptom severity questionnaires, which help your therapist gain a better understanding of how you’re feeling at this point in time. These forms may also include insurance and payment information, too.
Make a List of Questions
In the days or weeks leading up to your appointment, you may have questions pop into your head. Like, how should you measure progress? Or how often should you be seen?
Write these down and bring them with you. A first session is a great time to get some of those unknowns taken care of and it may help foster constructive conversation.
Be Ready to Talk
It may sound obvious, but in a first session, your therapist will likely ask a lot of open-ended questions to help form some groundwork. They’ll want to know a range of things, from what brought you in, to what goals you’d like to accomplish.
Know that it’s perfectly fine to not be ready to open up entirely at the first session. You get to set the pace, so if you’re not ready to tackle some things right away, it’s okay to say so.
Expect to Feel Uncomfortable at Times
Therapy can spark some major breakthroughs. But these changes usually require a level of introspection that can feel uncomfortable at times. During these times it may even feel like things are getting worse before they get better.
Your therapist will be careful to monitor the frequency of these heavy sessions to make sure you’re not getting overwhelmed. But remember, therapy is a dialogue. If things get to be too much for you, tell your therapist how you’re feeling, and they’ll be able to adjust.
Know This is a Safe Space
While you may be nervous at your first appointment, always remember that therapy is a safe space. Your therapist is there to offer support and tools to help you make positive changes in your life. You shouldn’t feel judged or unable to say what’s on your mind.
And if you come to feel that you and your therapist aren’t a good fit, that’s okay too. It’s crucial that you feel that you’re in safe and trusting environment in order to do the most beneficial work in your appointments.
You should also feel free to call your therapist’s office ahead time with any questions or concerns you may have leading up to your appointment.