Well, you’ve made the decision. It’s time to stop letting anxiety, negative thoughts, depression, etc. have control over your life and you’re wanting to start therapy! The more we think about it though…the more nervous we can get! Coming to therapy for the first time can be an intimidating experience, as many therapists know first hand just how difficult it can be.
Sitting in front of a professional, who is also a complete stranger, and telling them a private concern or personal problem can feel extremely vulnerable. Often, this turns people away from therapy, which can further exacerbate and worsen particular problems. So, let’s talk about what a typical first session looks like at WCC!
Before the first session, you are going to complete an online intake form. This is simply not just papers to fill out, this is a very important clinical document that your therapist will review thoroughly. It contains all the information about WCC, our clinical practices, and then a form where you are given a chance to explain what has been going on, why you are seeking services, your goals for therapy, and any particular symptoms you are experiencing. Once that is done, you are ready to go to your first session!
The first session involves your therapist explaining his or her informed consent (your rights as a client) and confidentiality (that what you say is completely private). After the formalities, the therapist will then ask you about your particular problem, how long it’s been going on, how it is impacting you, etc. This is to really help in developing a treatment plan and will help the therapist develop a map of which treatment will be best and which problems need the most attention (The treatment plan is essentially a list of presenting problems, the order in which they should be worked on, and exactly how they will be worked on (i.e. using behavioral, emotional, or cognitive techniques to help alleviate the problems). This is often simply for the therapist records and to help guide them in treatment, but at WCC we are more than willing to share this with you!). Some therapists may use assessments and questionnaires to further explore problems, but this is usually not done in the first session.
Now, simply sitting in front of a therapist at the first session does not mean you have to tell it all or go in and expose your deepest secrets. At Works Counseling Center, we pride ourselves on creating a calm and relaxed environment — that is filled with trust. You will NEVER have to disclose something that you do not feel comfortable with, as we understand things like take time. If your therapist is asking a question that makes you uncomfortable, just let him of her know! They totally will respect your boundary and not pursue the issue any further. It will only be discussed when YOU are ready to talk about it 🙂
If time permits, the therapist will also explain what he or she believes is the underlying issue causing your present problem, and also provide education on how it can best be remedied. This is your chance to hear, from a professional, the clinical piece to your problem and how it can best be cured! Finally, your therapist will go over a potential treatment plan — which was mentioned earlier.
Finally, don’t feel scared to ask questions! Therapists are usually more than willing to discuss the process with you in session, explain concepts further, and even share their own hobbies and favorite things 🙂
The first therapy session can be intimidating, but at WCC we try to make it the best experience! See you in the office!