Ah, the first session. Or as I like to call it, "The Great First Leap". Because as you will see, when someone calls or emails me to make an initial appointment, I am always impressed. It may seem like a small thing, and depending on your reasons for seeking therapy, setting up an appointment may feel like cake compared to everything else. But I believe one big step is already behind you and from there you can only keep moving forward. The next phase is coming in for your first session, and for some, that may feel like a challenge.
If you have had counseling at some point in your life, you may feel somewhat at ease coming into an office with a new therapist and starting a session. But many of you who are reaching out for help it is for the first time and you don’t know what it’s like. It may seem strange, and perhaps even a little scary, to talk to a stranger about hard things in your life. You are not alone in these feelings. I hope to ease just a little of that anxiety by providing what to expect on your first session.
During the initial meeting I have so often had people look at me and say, “Do I just start talking?” In one word, yes! Although often a short explanation of why you are coming in has been discussed on the phone or over email, I want to hear more of what you have been experiencing. The first session is the time to let out whatever you feel comfortable sharing. We can start by just letting me get to know you or dig right in to the meat of the issues. It’s your session; I am there only to guide you. It’s also a time for you to ask me questions about the process, learn about my expertise, and inquire about any lingering concerns. The first meeting is a time for you to get to know me as well as me to learn about you.
The first session will not be the time to fix everything. I know that anyone coming to see me is eager for answers, and I sure wish I could give them immediately. If only coming into a therapist’s office was like the dry cleaners where you could drop off the dirty laundry and pick it up later all nice and clean. Therapy is a process, and we won’t get to everything right away.
My goal is that you leave the first session wanting to continue and discover more about what therapy has to offer. I can’t give specifics other than these because you are an individual with individual concerns. What may work for Molly won’t work for Mike. But together we can discover what your goals for counseling are. It all just starts with that first session.