What Happens During The First Therapy Session?


If you’re considering working with a therapist for the first time, you’ll probably want to know what to expect! Whatever you are seeking help for, it’s not going to hurt to get some background information in order to prepare yourself appropriately for the first session.

The first thing you should know about therapy is that it isn’t an overnight solution to your problems. Remember, the most improvement comes after a strong personal relationship is developed with your counselor. With that being said, you most likely won’t find overwhelming breakthrough in your first session, although you should feel like you’re moving in the right direction after you leave. The first session is usually mostly Q&A which allows the therapist to get to know you and your goals. Take a look at some of the sections below to learn a little more more about what you can expect during your first therapy session!

Background Information

What Brought You Here? 

A particular issue probably led you to seek counseling. The therapist has to understand your surface problem(s) before he can get to the deeper issues.

Your Story

Your therapist will want to get an idea of your personal history and current situation so that they will be able to help you the best they can. Your therapist will ask you a series of questions about your life. For example, because family situations play an important role in who you are, he or she will ask about your family history and your current family situation. Some therapists will send an intake form to you prior to your appointment which provides them with a lot of this information.

Your Current Symptoms and Goals

Other than knowing the reason you sought therapy, your therapist will attempt to find out if you’re suffering from other symptoms of your problem. For example, your problem might be causing difficulty at work. Your therapist will use this information to better understand your problem so that a action plan can be formed to help solve it.

Tips For a Successful First Session

Be Prepared

Prior to the session, spend some time thinking about how you’d describe your feelings about your scenario. For example, you may want to list out all of the reasons you are seeking help and why. Practice talking through them out loud so that you can get some practice conveying your emotions and thoughts clearly.

Actively Participate

Therapy is meant to be interactive. In order to get the most value out of your session, it will require you to be fully engaged.

Be Open

Therapists are trained to ask the right questions, but they can’t do their job properly if you aren’t answering those questions openly and honestly. Therapy is a process that can be very emotionally overwhelming at times. Listen to your own reactions and feelings, then share them with your therapist. You both can learn a lot from those insights.

Ask Questions

If you have any questions or concerns about how counseling works, ask your therapist! Ask as many questions you need to about the therapy process, and feel free to ask for clarification on anything that you don’t understand.

Work With Us

If you’re considering therapy and haven’t found a therapist to work with yet, consider working with one of the counselors at Modern Therapy. We offer counseling services in person at our office space located in Eatontown, NJ, or online anywhere in the country via our secure video/phone conferencing software. Just click below to learn more.