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How to Prepare for Your First Counseling Session

5 Ways to Get Ready for Your First Counseling Session

Getting prepared for your first counseling session can help reduce some of the anxiety you might have about starting the therapy journey. Here's our advice on how to get ready for your first counseling session.

Organize your thoughts. When some people begin their first counseling session, they might not know where to start. On the other hand, other people might find themselves talking about a wide range of unrelated topics because they are so relieved to finally have a safe place to share their feelings. You can ensure a more productive first session by organizing your thoughts before you arrive. Start by asking yourself what is bringing you to counseling. Think about any background you might like to share about your situation, yourself, your past, your relationship history, your family of origin, and/or your upbringing. While not necessary, this can help you feel more comfortable from the outset, so you can get the most out of your time.

Be as open as possible. Most people live their daily lives without showing too many of their true underlying feelings. As we continuously rely on our protective facades, we may have trouble opening up about our true selves. Although you might be nervous or frightened about expressing your fears, painful thoughts or past experiences, you need to be as open as you can. Remember that your therapist is an experienced, nonjudgmental sounding board, who can help you identify the cause of specific feelings and develop better strategies for coping.

Ask questions. It's common for people to experience anxiety whenever they are faced with uncertainty. Remove the uncertainty, and you tend to become more comfortable. How can you remove uncertainty? By asking questions before and during your first counseling session. Some examples include: What can I expect during the initial session? What is your style of counseling? Will I have a chance to address my issues on the very first visit? These sorts of questions can help eliminate much of the uncertainty that might be fueling your anxiety.

Keep your mind open. Some people approach their first counseling sessions with a rock-solid plan in their minds. In some instances, this can make them less open to observations and suggestions from their counselors. If you aren't open to fresh perspectives, treatment options and exercises, you are less likely to make good progress on your issues. Try to keep your mind open and allow your therapist to make suggestions about how you can move forward. Your therapist may have ideas you have never thought of, and these strategies could be the ones that help you achieve success.

Give yourself a break. It's completely natural to feel nervous or a bit awkward during your first counseling session. There's no reason to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Your therapist will be used to this. What's more, in addition to seeing new clients all the time, your therapist will have logged hours of therapy themselves and will completely understand how it feels to be on your side of things. Just relax and be yourself. If you still feel nervous, try to do some meditation, breathing exercises or yoga. You should also remember that you will feel much more comfortable during your second and subsequent appointments.

Our caring therapists can help you live your best life. Contact us today!