By Emily Rosenberg
If you’re considering therapy but are unsure what to expect, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s talk about the process of starting therapy.
Sometimes when we don’t know what to expect, it can be scary and we avoid it altogether. If you’re anything like me, you want to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into! But have no fear — it is your therapist’s job to ensure you feel comfortable and supported throughout your therapy journey.
SCHEDULING YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT
It all starts with a phone call (but these days, you can also request an appointment online). It’s often easy to find a lot of information about therapy practices and specific therapists before ever visiting the office. Maybe you’ve looked into Evoke Wellness and like what you see, but you’re not sure which therapist is the best fit. You’re always welcome to call the office and discuss the qualities you’re looking for in a therapist or the reason you’re seeking therapy.
Therapists typically have certain areas in which they specialize. One therapist may be trained to work with adolescent clients with anxiety, while another may be trained to work with adult clients with a history of trauma. Schedule an appointment with a therapist whose specialty resonates with you, and whose supportive services will be tailored to your specific needs.
YOUR FIRST THERAPY SESSION
Once you’ve found a therapist and scheduled your first appointment, your next step is to show up! Simply attending your therapy appointment is a big step in the right direction, and we are so excited to get to meet new clients. Once you arrive for your first therapy session, you should pat yourself on the back — seriously! You’re doing something positive for yourself and your well-being, and it should be recognized as such.
You don’t need to prepare for your first therapy session. There will likely be some forms that you need to sign prior to your first session (informed consent, etc.), but aside from that, it isn’t necessary to do any planning for your session. Of course, if you’re a big planner, you’re welcome to come with questions, goals, or ideas, but it is not expected of you.
Your first session will be about building rapport and helping your therapist get to know you. Your therapist will welcome you into their office and ensure you feel comfortable. Your therapist will ask various questions about your background and history to get a better idea of what makes you, you! If there’s anything that you don’t feel comfortable discussing at that time, simply tell your therapist and they will respect that boundary (and probably be really proud of you for setting one)!
Your therapist may ask you questions about your hobbies, your relationships with family and friends, your educational and occupational background, and any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. This helps them to get a better idea of both your strengths and areas where you may want support. Your therapist is looking to gain a well-rounded picture of you so that the two of you can make appropriate and fitting goals for treatment.
Treatment recommendations typically include how frequently you should attend therapy to maximize benefits. Your therapist will share their treatment recommendations with you at the end of your first appointment. That way, you know when to schedule your next appointment! Oftentimes, your therapist will recommend you begin with weekly or bi-weekly sessions and will later reduce the frequency of your sessions based on your needs and progress towards what you would like to accomplish.
Sometimes, if the therapist believes you would be supported better by someone with a slightly different skill set, alternative resources, or by another level of care, they will tell you that in your first meeting or later in the therapeutic process if the need arises. Your therapist’s goal is ALWAYS to ensure that you are receiving the tools that will best support your journey.
AFTER THE FIRST SESSION
Therapy will look different to everyone after the first session! It all depends on what you want to get out of each session and your individualized goals for therapy. For some, therapy is a time to talk through the stresses of the past week or month. For others, therapy may be about processing difficulties of the past. Sessions may vary from week to week, depending on what would be most helpful to you at that time. You can decide what to discuss each week, and your therapist will support that. We want you to feel empowered by therapy!
Your therapist will also help you to process your thoughts during sessions, ensure that you feel heard, and may even offer a different perspective to help ease your worries. Your therapist is a resource for various healthy skills and tools to reduce your symptoms and suffering. Try using your new skills between sessions and find what works best for you!
A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS
Firstly, everyone can benefit from therapy. There is no “right” or “wrong” time to begin therapy. Some people begin therapy after a life transition or difficult event to help them regroup, process, and heal. Others begin therapy because they are feeling stuck and want to move forward. Some individuals begin therapy even if they are feeling content with their lives but need a space to talk freely.
Whatever you’re looking to get out of therapy, you’re likely to learn more about yourself in the process. If you’re at all considering therapy, go for it! You’ll be happy that you did, and we at Evoke Wellness would love the opportunity to work with you.