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The First Session

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

What to expect from your first counseling session!

Are you worried or nervous about what to expect in your first counseling session? You may feel more relaxed if you know what to expect. The therapist will ask questions about your life and what brought you in to see them.

Some questions that you may be asked include:

· What or who brought you there today? What issue is concerning you right now and led you to schedule the appointment?

· What is your personal history? The therapist may ask some questions about your life and any family situations at the moment. Family situations usually play a very important role in your life.

· What are your current symptoms? The therapist will ask what symptoms you may be experiencing that are causing difficulty in your life - in school, at work, in your social life, sleeping patterns, etc. The therapist may use this to make a diagnosis in the first session or may wait a few sessions until they have more information gathered.


Make sure you are actively participating in the session. If you are not talking and sharing, then the session may not prove to be productive.

Some tips on how to make the session productive:

· Be open and honest. Therapists are trained to ask the right questions but they cannot read your mind. A lot has probably been going on that has brought you in, however be willing to share these feelings and reactions so you can learn to develop insight.

· Be prepared. Before you session, figure out how to describe what is wrong and ways to describe your feelings about the problem. Another way is to write down what you are struggling with and why you are seeking help. Practice saying it out loud so can you speak clearly to the therapist.

· Ask questions. If you do not understand something, ask questions about how counseling works, the counseling process and ask for the therapist to repeat anything you need more clarification on.


Remember counseling is confidential. A therapist is legally bound to keep what you share with them private UNLESS you disclose that you want to hurt yourself or someone else or that you are being abused or neglected.

Make sure that you approach your first session with realistic expectations. Therapy is not a quick fix for your problem but it is a process. With effort on your part and a strong therapeutic relationship, therapy can help you be successful in reducing your symptoms and resolving problems.

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