At Your First Counseling Session, Here’s What To Expect

Will this be your first counseling session? We know you’re feeling anxious—many people feel this to some degree during their first session. But don’t fret, we’ll give you a general idea of what to expect, to ease the heebie-jeebies.

Typically, the counselor will, during your first session, as you a bunch of basic questions about your life. Don’t worry, this is all normal—and typical. This will help the counselor make the proper assessment of your circumstance. Which is of course what the counselor must do in order to be able to help you better.

The types of questions your counselor might ask you are the following:

What are your reasons for seeking therapy?

Of course, something must have served as the impetus for your decision to seek help, and your counselor will rightly want to know about it. It’s not like you simply pulled out your credit card and decided to get therapy for nothing. Sometimes, however, the reasons why we seek therapy are not clear even to ourselves, so expect your counselor to dig deeper, asking you about, say, your family history and situation, in an attempt to pin down your main reasons for seeking help.

What are your history and situation?

Like we mentioned, these will be probing questions that the counselor will ask to dig deeper and discover the main reasons for your seeking help. Questions probing into what your situation is at home is helpful for your counselor to discover more about yourself. No matter how trivial the follow-up questions might seem, the important thing is to answer them honestly and trust that your counselor is asking them purposefully.

Are you experiencing any symptoms?

After learning about your reasons for seeking help, your counselor might ask you if you’re experiencing symptoms of one kind or another, in other areas of your life. This will, of course, depend on your exact problem, but your therapist might want to be sure whether you’re ok in other areas of your life, or whether your problem has, to some degree, gone on to affect them as well.

This will be the kind of information your counselor will need to make a better, more accurate diagnosis, so it will be to your benefit to mull over your answers and be sure you’re giving the most accurate ones.

Things You Can do to Get the Most Out of Your Therapy Session.

1. Don’t just sit there disinterestedly. Your credit card will be billed for the session, so might as well make the most of it. Remember, therapy is a two-way street, and you should interact with your therapist and answer his questions in the best way that you can.

2. Be open. Your therapist will want to know what your underlying problem is, and he won’t be able to do that if you act like a closed book. So open up and share your experience, even if some of the information you’re giving might seem irrelevant. Remember, your therapist is a trained professional but he’s not a mindreader.

3. Ask questions. That’s right. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something is bothering you, or if your therapist is acting like a lawyer and is engaging in a line of questioning that you’re uncomfortable with, then let him know. It doesn’t mean you are right, but it will be better, nevertheless, to be honest with your therapist and ask him any question you have got floating around.

4. Honesty is key. We cannot stress this enough; you have to be, first and foremost, honest with your therapist. Listen to yourself and share exactly what you feel, or what you think, about certain things. Your therapist isn’t there to make moral judgments about your actions, he’s there to listen and improve your mental health. He won’t be able to do that, of course, if you are to some degree being dishonest. So, be honest and open up.

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