Seeing a counselor for the first time can be intimidating, but it’s much like meeting any professional healthcare provider. Here’s what you can expect on your first appointment.
Paperwork and Documents
Your therapist might provide the paperwork they require before the appointment or you may be expected to arrive early to fill it out. You may be asked to get to the appointment 15 to 30 minutes early. Plan to bring your insurance information and ID. The questionnaire your therapist gives you will be specific to the therapist, but it will likely contain questions that give some background details about you and your family. You may be asked why you want/need therapy. Be truthful. If you aren’t prepared to answer a question, leave it blank. You only have to share what you want to. The more information your therapist has, the more help he or she can offer.
Seeing the Therapist
Once your paperwork is filled out, you’ll be called back to the therapist’s office. This first session generally lasts about an hour, but it could be a little longer. Most sessions last an hour. During your first visit, it may feel more like an interview. Your therapist will ask questions, many may already be on the paperwork you answered. All of these questions help the therapist understand what you are looking for.
Feel free to ask questions, too. You may want to inquire about their approach to counseling. Ask what kind of training they’ve had in your problem. Most people wouldn’t ask doctors these questions, but counseling is a little different. It’s much more personal. Feel empowered to ask questions. You may even want to know if your therapist is married. If the therapist doesn’t want to share that information, they should tell you that. Just as you may not want to share information, your therapist may want to protect their privacy. Don’t get offended. It can help to write down questions that are important to you before your visit.
Evaluate Your Meeting
Seeing a therapist is a little different than other healthcare providers. After your session, you may need to think about whether you want to continue seeing the therapist to get more in-depth help. If you don’t think you can be honest with the therapist, it might be better to look for another therapist than to waste time with someone who won’t be able to help you.
Contact a counselor for counseling in Palatine, IL to get started with your mental health journey.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and what to expect at your first appointment.