If you’re nervous about your fist counseling session, it’s normal. Most people come to their first session with a number of questions, even if they have been to counseling before. Does this actually help? What if it doesn’t help? Does this mean there is something wrong with me? I wonder what so-and-so would think if they knew that I was here… and so on. So yes, we try to offer snacks, good reading material and some relaxing music to calm anxious thoughts in the waiting area.
But here’s are a few tips so you know what to expect about your first session:
The first session is usually a chance for you to connect with your counselor, and share a little background about what brings you in for counseling. Sometimes big insights can happen, but other times, it sets the stage for the direction of your counseling. You can share as much or as little as you like, so you don’t have to cover everything in the first 50 minutes. Process is important.
Where to start
The first session is a chance for you to be honest about whatever you are going through. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s some ideas to get you thinking: Do you have any general or specific goals for your counseling work? What would you like to learn about yourself or others? Do you have any fears about counseling? Just so you know, there are no wrong answers, and no expectations about what to say or not!
What to bring
Our office asks clients to send in completed paperwork prior to their first appointment. This paperwork includes an Intake Questionnaire that asks basic questions about your background, family, health and mental health history, so it is really helpful for our counselors to have this information about you before the first appointment.
Your counselor will recommend how often to schedule sessions. Usually they might recommend weekly or every other week, especially as you’re getting started. But ultimately, scheduling and counseling depends on you: your availability, budget, and counseling goals.
We hope this helps as you’re thinking ahead to your first session in counseling. But as always, please feel free to contact our office directly with any further questions.