You probably have questions coming into therapy and one of them can be, “What can I expect to happen when I am in a therapy appointment?” Whether it is your first time or tenth time, everyone experiences this. Everyone’s experience is different from one therapist to another. Let’s try to break down some of these common expectations so you can have a better experience.
Here are some common expectations about therapy:
“How does that make you feel”
You are lying on a couch
A lot of crying
“I will always feel great leaving a therapy session”
I have to like my therapist as if they are my best friend
I always have to talk about my childhood
Therapy is serious and there cannot be any laughing
I have to attend for years in order to benefit from therapy
I have to complete homework or follow through with strategies 100% of the time
I only have to work on myself in therapy
Here is what therapy is actually like:
Building a good therapeutic relationship that instills trust, this can take one session or several
Unpacking things you have never addressed or thought you would want to address
Thinking there is nothing to talk about, when that can be some great work in therapy
Thinking about something significant when session is ending
Learning to look at things from a new perspective
Sometimes crying, sometimes laughing
Slow progress with occasional big leaps
Being gently called out by your therapist with patterns or discrepancies
Pushing through the discomfort
Learning new skills and understanding new things about yourself
Trying out new skills and strategies that may not work and find out new ones to try
Therapy practice does not end at the end of a therapy session
You may disagree with your therapist at times
Silence may occur, and that is okay
Therapy is work and is not always easy. But know that you are not alone. What therapy aims to do is to improve and help resolve how you are feeling or find alternative solutions while with a professional who will demonstrate empathy, compassion, and a safe environment.
Here are some other things you can expect when you come to therapy with me:
These characteristics will be consistent with me throughout our time: Responsive, compassionate, empathetic, collaborative, and inquisitive. I have been told that I am trusting, non-judgemental, and that clients feel appreciated and heard. Therapy is hard, it brings up tough emotions and thoughts, I give a sense of optimism and instill hope that progress is possible. Those who work with me, feel confident in our work together.
I offer a free 15-minute meeting via phone or video where we can see if we are a good fit for each other. I will ask questions about why you are seeking therapy services, general goals, barriers, and successes. I will describe what you can expect from me in therapy. These would include a safe, confidential space; supportive environment; exploration and processing of concerns; transparency, and openness. This meeting is not required but is offered.
Before the First Appointment
You will receive paperwork through a secure electronic platform where you will be able to review documents that outline consent, confidentiality, your rights, payment, and more. All paperwork is requested to be reviewed, signed, and submitted 12 hours prior to the first appointment. If you do have any questions, I can answer them prior to or at your first appointment. You will receive copies of these documents for your own records once we both have signed them.
During the first appointment (also known as the Intake), I will complete a Biopsychosocial Assessment which is essentially me asking you questions to better understand historical information, present information, and contributing stressors. This will help guide us to create treatment goals and where you would like to start focusing or have some focus in our appointments together.
After the first appointment, our sessions will focus on your treatment goals. I will work with you you identify steps to achieve these goals. I always lean into what you want to focus on for the session. You may have had a stressful time since we last met and that is where we need to turn our attention to that issue/concern. However, if you feel you do not have a topic in mind, we can still do plenty of work together during that session (I have found those to be surprisingly productive sessions!). At the end of each session, we will review what we plan to focus on next time. This might be something for you to work on in between appointments, how we will start the next session, and summarize today's appointment.
During sessions, you can expect to learn new skills, understand what is going on, review what is going well and what needs more focus, and more!
I work well with those experiencing...
Anxiety Clinical Supervision Communication Couples Therapy Friendship Counseling Grief Hoarding Life Transitions Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD) Panic & Panic Attacks Phobias PTSD / Trauma
Relationship Building Self-Esteem Social Anxiety Stress Management Traumatic Brain Injury Work & Career Stressors
Find out more here.
I have a FAQ page found here. And can help answer any other questions you may have!
Contact me today to get started in therapy!
Blog Disclaimer - These posts are not meant to treat, diagnose, or serve as a replacement for therapy. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact your local crisis center or dial 911. Here are more immediate resources as well.