How to Be Ready When Starting Therapy
The day has come! Here are a few pointers to help you feel comfortable and relaxed going into your first therapy appointment.
- Arrive early. Give yourself time to find parking and acquaint yourself with the building so you don’t feel rushed.
- Make some mental notes about what you would like out of your therapy experience. This is also a huge help for your therapist because treatment can then be more streamlined and efficient. I often recommend thinking of some of your main concerns beforehand, as well as some goals (if you have any at this time).
- Bring a notebook or phone. If you have ideas or questions, jotting them down and bringing them in can be helpful in keeping up with your goals, and helping you to feel more organized. Often, in the rush of the appointment, people forget their homework, or to ask questions. Make it easier for yourself by writing it down.
- Know the length of your appointment. With me, appointments are 50 minutes long. Be aware that you will spend roughly an hour at the clinic and plan your day accordingly. Some therapists book longer first appointments. Be sure to confirm ahead of time.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Have your paperwork completed before the appointment. Because I maintain online forms, my patients will receive their intake and consent forms over email before the appointment. Some therapists ask you to print off and bring in a consent form with you. Others ask you to complete it in session. Having a good grasp of what you’re signing before the appointment can help you feel more comfortable and allow you to ask any questions you may have.
- Lastly, breathe! Stay calm and remind yourself that the purpose of this meeting is for you to get the help or support you need. So, the more honest and open you are, the better.
Remember that the first appointment does not mean that you must stick with the therapist you just met. You have the right to take some time to think and rebook, or seek a different professional.
Enjoy the process and remember to thank yourself for taking this step towards self-improvement.