For your first therapy session, some questions your therapist may ask you are:
- Why are you here, seeking therapy?
- What were your previous experiences with therapy, whether it may be participating in therapy or other methods you have tried for self-help (meditation, journaling, etc)
- Is there any family history (immediate family member(s)) who have had mental health issues, either suspected or formally diagnosed?
- Has there been any significant trauma, dramatic changes in your life? If so, how do you believe you were impacted by the trauma or change?
- What goals do you hope to achieve with the help of therapy?
You may not be able to answer all these questions, everyone’s story and mentality are different. Therapy can be as simple as just someone to talk to for the day-to-day stress.
After your first session, one may consider whether or not the therapist is “right” for them. Something to aid the processes to figure it is is by
- Doing your research. Go to the therapist’s website and read their bio.
- Make sure they have experience working with the particular issue you want to focus on.
- Ask your therapist about their theoretical orientations and how it contributes to how they will be able to help you.
- Manage your expectations: the “perfect” therapist is not an ideal standard, rather a “good” therapist is a good place to start.
- Set up a consultation if you are not sure if the therapist is the right fit for you.
Finding an ideal “good” therapist is something one must determine. Is it good for you or is it good because it meets standards that may be confounded with societal pressures?
3 things you could do when you are not connecting with your therapist:
- Give your therapist a chance with a few sessions but also voice your concerns with what is lacking with what you need to achieve your mental health goals. Ultimately you are the consumer and the patient.
- Stop scheduling sessions, reevaluate what you want in a therapist to help you succeed, and begin the search again for another therapist.
- Directly tell your therapist that you are not connecting with them and want to try to see a different therapist, they may have some recommendations since the relationship may be mutual between the therapist and you.
Once you find a good therapist, take advantage of their expertise by applying their recommendation to your mental health. Make the most of it!
- Take notes.
- Come prepared with a list of things to talk about.
- Between sessions, brainstorm issues that you have faced and bring them up to your therapist.
- Expressing yourself may be challenging at times so try using feeling language to describe your emotions (ex. Sad, anxious, angry).
- Ask for clarification and questions about anything the therapist says, which could be specific concepts or other things discussed in sessions.
Therapy is a progressive form of healing that takes time. Every discussion with your therapist matters to them and yourself. So every conversation can build off of each other.
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.