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Navigating Concerns Before Your First Therapy Session

Before making any first appointment, we tend to look up some information, speak to people and read reviews. Most often than not, we work through others’ recommendations. While an appointment with a doctor, salon or bridal store sounds easy. Some others, such as making your first therapy appointment can be nerve-wracking. You might find yourself, confused, overwhelmed, and with a lot of apprehension.

Navigating your way through concerns and finding the right therapist often involves trial and error, until you are content and sure of what you’re getting into. People hesitate to ask questions surrounding mental health and how they can approach making that first appointment. Here we address some common concerns we might experience before booking our session.

How can I choose the right therapist?

It is important to ask your therapist about their academic background and educational qualifications before you begin therapy. Do they have the relevant experience and specializations, in which case they are equipped to handle the issue you are dealing with. Perhaps you are dealing with grief and might need someone who has experience with grief. Or you’ve heard of a particular therapy that sits well with you and you’d like a therapist who practices it.

Having adequate information about your therapist and their ethics, not only helps make an informed decision but can also come a long way in building rapport.

Can I ask questions regarding the process of therapy?

If you have any queries regarding fees, payment, and cancellation or rescheduling, your therapist is more than happy to discuss these queries. If you are wondering about coming in offline or online, and the difficulties you may experience with tuning in online, your therapist can help with that too. Do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have.

What to expect before my first session?

Just like all other appointments, a therapy appointment too needs some basic demographics before you begin. Details like age, presenting complaints, and language preferences may be recorded. You may even be given a consent form regarding the services you are about to avail. Sometimes, you can even expect questionnaires regarding any symptoms you might be experiencing.

While some of these procedures can even be done through a call or at home, others are done during the waiting time or even in person with the therapist.

Do I need to have any goals in mind?

While having clear goals isn’t absolutely necessary, knowing your own expectations from therapy can go a long way in creating a structure for you and your therapist. That being said, your therapist is also skilled to help you build a set of goals in your first session. Goal-setting should be done at the first session. After several sessions, these goals can be revisited and altered in order to track progress.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions changes from person to person. Sometimes, people come in for a single consultation and develop more clarity. Other times, sessions can last anywhere between a few months to several months. Reaching your goals requires the therapist and client to collaborate with each other and appreciate the tiniest of efforts. It may seem like you’re not progressing during your first session, however, it is important to remember that therapy is a continuous process requiring effort. It’s like how we take antibiotics for a fever, slowly but surely, we start to feel better.

When is the best time for me to book a therapy session?

It’s always the best time to book a therapy session! Jokes apart, when you notice that your difficulties or thoughts start to interfere with your daily functioning such as eating and sleeping, it’s probably time for you to consider making that appointment.

Choose a time that works best for you, when there are no other distractions or commitments. Another way to schedule your first appointment is to do it on a day off or at a time when you have little else to worry about.

Therapy can often bring up memories of the past and you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and wanting to be alone. At the same time, you may feel elated and relaxed. Taking this into consideration is always a good idea. Eventually, you’ll become aware of how you feel after therapy and be able to schedule sessions accordingly.

How to know if my therapist is good for me?

A large part of your experience in therapy is based on how comfortable and safe you feel with your therapist. Is your therapist checking in with you and challenging you to do better? Do you feel treated like an equal? Is your therapist empathizing with you and being compassionate toward your needs? If your answer is yes. Your therapist is right for you.

Before making an appointment and during the therapy sessions, you as a client might have lots of questions and concerns, the key is to address them with your therapist to make the process a smooth one. Don’t hold back on your reservations. In order to experience it and see progress, its important to keep some of these pointers in mind to make the right decisions. Now that you’ve come to the end of this blog, I hope you’re decision to book that appointment has been made easier.

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