What to expect from the first psychotherapy session

Going to see a psychotherapist can be a daunting experience. You might have a million questions running through your head like: Will the therapist judge me? Will they think I'm crazy? Will they ask me to lay on a couch and talk about my childhood? Fear not, because I'm here to put your mind at ease and let you know what to expect during your first session with a psychotherapist.


First of all, it's important to remember that your therapist is there to help you. They won't judge you, and they definitely won't think you're crazy. In fact, they've probably heard it all before, so there's no need to be embarrassed or ashamed about what you're going to talk about.

When you arrive for your first session, you'll probably be asked to fill out some paperwork. This is just standard procedure, and the therapist will use the information you provide to better understand your situation.

Once the paperwork is out of the way, it's time to get down to business. Your therapist will probably start by asking you some general questions about yourself, such as your job, your hobbies, and your family. This is just to get to know you a little better and to make you feel more comfortable.

After the initial introductions, your therapist will likely ask you why you decided to seek therapy. This is where you can start talking about the issues that brought you there in the first place.

Don't worry if you feel nervous or emotional – your therapist is there to listen and support you.

Throughout the session, your therapist will ask you questions and encourage you to talk about your thoughts and feelings. They may also provide you with some exercises or techniques to help you manage your emotions and work through your problems.

At the end of the session, your therapist will probably ask if you want to schedule another appointment. This is entirely up to you – if you feel like therapy is helping you, then go ahead and book another session. If not, that's OK too.

It's also important to note that the chemistry between you and your therapist is crucial to the success of your therapy. You need to feel comfortable and safe sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them. If you don't feel a connection with your therapist, it's OK to try someone else until you find the right fit.

Therapy is a collaborative process, and it's important that you feel like you're working together with your therapist to achieve your goals. When you have a good rapport with your therapist, you're more likely to be honest and open, which can lead to greater insights and progress.

If you're not sure if you have good chemistry with your therapist, don't be afraid to bring it up. They're trained to help you navigate these feelings and can work with you to find a solution that works for you.

In summary, your first session with a psychotherapist can be a positive and empowering experience. By understanding what to expect and the importance of chemistry between you and your therapist, you can start your therapy journey with confidence and optimism. Remember, you're taking an important step towards improving your mental health and well-being, and that's something to be proud of.

So, there you have it – a brief guide to what you can expect during your first session with a psychotherapist. Remember, therapy is a safe space where you can talk openly and honestly about your feelings. It's OK to feel nervous or vulnerable, but know that your therapist is there to help you every step of the way.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Surbiton KT6 & London W1W
Written by Olga Gelfman-Gratwick, BA, MA , UKCP registered therapist
Surbiton KT6 & London W1W

Olga Gelfman-Gratwick

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