What to Expect at Your First Appointment With a Therapist

Seeing a therapist might be a lot more enjoyable than you think!.

Going to see a psychotherapist is something that many people put off because they do not know what to expect or they think that going to psychotherapy means someone is crazy. Whether individual or couples therapy, new experiences can be scary but are often worthwhile despite the feeling of anxiety that they may bring on. Psychotherapy can work really well for someone struggling with a mental health problem, but it is avoided far too often.

This article will introduce you to what you can expect at your first appointment with a shrink.

Your appointment will probably start and end on time.

Few doctors rarely see their patients on time. This is not the case for most psychologists and other psychotherapists, however, because a main component of psychotherapy is the time that the therapist and client share.

It is therefore very important to arrive to your appointment on time so that you will have the full amount of allotted time to speak with your therapist. Even if you are late, your therapist will most likely have to end the session on time.

You will be asked to fill out some forms.

You will likely be given an intake form to complete and will be asked to sign some forms. One of these forms is a contract with your therapist. The contract likely includes the cancellation policy, that your confidentiality is protected except in certain extreme circumstances, and other policies that your therapist upholds.

Be prepared to talk about your reasons for coming to therapy.

Your therapist will likely ask you why you are coming to therapy and what you would like to get from the process. If you are clear on your goals for coming to therapy, great, but if you are not, that is okay too. 

Be prepared to speak about whatever problems that bring you to therapy and their history.

Your therapist will be curious about what problems brought you to therapy, how long they have been affecting you, how you have dealt with them in the past and how they are affecting you. 

Your therapist might ask about family history.

Psychotherapy is a process used not only for self-exploration, but to also help treat many mental health disorders. Many mental health diagnoses are shared by other family members, so your therapist may inquire about your family members' mental health as well.

Your therapist will likely ask about your history.

Depending on the kind of approach your therapist takes, he or she may be interested in your history. Some therapists will spend a lot of time learning about your childhood, and others may not be as interested. Most therapists will want to know at least the highlights of your life growing up. This includes the quality and type of relationships that you had with family members as well as any important events that you experienced growing up. This information will help your therapist get to know you and the context of your life so he or she can understand you better.

You will likely answer a lot of questions.

In addition to the above questions, your therapist will probably have many more. It is important to note that even though you will be answering a lot of questions, your first meeting with a therapist should not feel like an uncomfortable interrogation. If it does feel uncomfortable, you should find someone else to work with.

The process of talking about yourself and your history to someone who is curious to learn all about you might be a surprisingly enjoyable experience. You may have to interview a few people before finding the right therapist, but once you do, psychotherapy can be a transforming experience like no other.

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