What to Expect During Your First Therapy Session

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Connecting with a therapist for the first time may seem overwhelming if you’re not sure what to expect. We’ve put together this quick guide on what the process looks like, so you can get the most out of your first therapy session.

Find the right fit

The rapport and relationship you have with your therapist is key to successful therapy. Because no two therapists or clients are the same, it’s important to ask the right questions during your first therapy session in order to find the best match for you. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to share your preferences on our Therapist Matching Questionnaire so we can provide you with personalized therapist recommendations.

Here are some questions to ask your therapist:

  1. What type of therapy approach do you use? What does will this look like in our sessions?
  2. What are your fees? How do insurance claims get filed? 
  3. How can I reschedule/what happens if I miss an appointment?

Think About What You Want From Therapy

People seek therapy for many different reasons. Perhaps you’re going through a particularly stressful life event and could use extra support. Maybe you want to learn practices and techniques for managing troubling symptoms of anxiety.

For some, therapy might be a place to better understand maladaptive behavior patterns that keep us stuck, so that we can live more fully and freely. Whatever your reason for considering therapy, give it some thought before your first therapy session so you can communicate to your therapist what you’d like help with.

Your First Therapy Session: Let Your Therapist Get to Know You

Your first therapy session is a time for you and your therapist to get to know each other and understand what working together will be like. This period may feel more like information-gathering, while future sessions will feel more therapeutic and focused on the specific concerns you bring to the session. 

Here are some questions your therapist may ask you:

  1. What brings you to therapy?
  2. What symptoms are you experiencing?
  3. Your therapist will also likely ask you questions about your career, family, relationships, and childhood.

Good therapy is about relationship building. The more comfortable, candid, and honest you can be during your session the better your therapist will be able to help.

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Quick Tips to Ensure a Great First Therapy Session

  • Create a Private Environment. If your first session is a Telehealth appointment, identify a suitable room or area of your home that is quiet, private, and free of distractions. 
  • Clear Your Schedule. Let people know you’ll be unavailable during your session and avoid scheduling anything for immediately after your appointment just in case you need time to decompress. 
  • Relax & Trust the Process. Get comfortable and enjoy getting to know your therapist. Good therapy is about relationship building. The more comfortable, candid, and honest you can be during your session, the better your therapist will be able to help you. Your therapist will guide you through the process to ensure a productive session.
first therapy session
Create a private environment for your first therapy session. Identify a suitable room or area of your home that is quiet, private, and free of distractions.

 Common Client Questions

Q: What’s the best way for me to connect to my therapist?
A: Discuss your preferred contact method with your therapist prior to your session. Our therapists are flexible and able to connect with you via phone or on a variety of encrypted, HIPAA–compliant platforms, including Spruce Health, Simple Practice, or doxy.me. Let us know what works best for you and we’ll do our best to accommodate. 

The therapist’s goal is to provide a collaborative and non-judgmental environment that allows you to harness your inner resilience to improve your quality of life.

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Q. How do sessions work?
A. After you schedule your free 30-minute phone consultation with a therapist of your choice, you’ll receive a confirmation email of your appointment with some forms to review. Once you’ve submitted your completed forms, your therapist will contact you on your appointment date at the scheduled time. Your therapist will be able to contact you through the preferred method of your choice (Telehealth platform, phone call, in person, etc).

Q: Is therapy private and confidential?
A: We’re serious about protecting your privacy. Just like our face-to-face appointments, Teletherapy is also private and confidential. Therapists are bound by strict federal privacy regulations and cannot release information about you to anyone without your written permission. 

Q: What online platform do you use? What is Simple Practice?
A: Simple Practice is our practice management software for scheduling, case management, Teletherapy, and documentation. The platform uses a HIPAA–compliant software that ensures your information is secure.

Have more questions? Check out our F.A.Q.

How To Prepare For Your First Teletherapy Session
While each therapist has their own philosophy and theoretical background, the therapist’s goal is to provide a collaborative, calming and non-judgmental environment.

Relax and trust the process. We’ve got you.

If you’re feeling nervous before your first therapy session, we hope these proactive steps can help ease your anxiety and ensure a successful first meeting. Just remember: It’s normal to feel uncomfortable about opening up to a stranger. Your therapist is a trained professional with the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you.

While each therapist has their own philosophy and theoretical background, your therapist’s goal is to provide a collaborative, calming, and non-judgmental environment that allows you to harness your inner resilience to improve your quality of life.

 We look forward to meeting you where you are.

Your Turn: Do you have any stories or experiences about your first therapy session that you’d like to share? I’m curious to hear about success stories and any recommendations for making connecting with a therapist for the first time easier. Let us know in the comments below.

Kristin Anderson

Kristin Anderson is a Licensed Psychotherapist at Clarity Therapy. Kristin helps clients learn how to heal from the past wounds of trauma and free themselves of depression, anxiety, and resentment so that they can live more fulfilling and prosperous lives.

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Did this article resonate with you?

If so, our therapists may be a good fit. We invite you to share your preferences on our therapist matching questionnaire so that we can provide you with a personalized recommendation.

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