Most people, even the elders, and professionals become nervous and anxious before they meet their therapists for the first time. In fact, people who are suffering from mental health problems avoid one-on-one treatment because of the required presence of a stranger.
Feeling Anxious During First Therapy Session
According to Robert Allison, MA, LPC “Anxiety sees too many things as threats, it sees threats too easily. As a result, the fight or flight response is triggered too often and too easily.” It’s normal for people who will undergo their very first therapy session to feel tense before it starts.
Therapists, on the other hand, are aware of this and even they are doing their best to bring down barriers between them and their patients.
Most probably, you are here because you are feeling like backing out from an already paid and scheduled therapy session soon. Don’t give up. Don’t succumb to the feeling of pressure and negative thoughts that you would be judged.
What To Expect in First Therapy Sessions
Your chosen therapist will encourage you to do a lot of talking in the first session. Your therapist will also ask questions, and you are expected to answer everything truthfully, if not exhaustively.
Expect your therapist to delve into your family history and the root cause of why you are seeking therapy. This may make you feel uncomfortable, especially in the first meeting. Don’t worry, it’s okay if you don’t feel like disclosing everything about yourself in the first session. Julie Simon, PsyD once stated that “While therapy can be challenging, it can also be the catalyst that allows you to live a more fulfilled and peaceful life.”
The first meeting is an ice-breaker. Before, patients were made to lie on a divan and stare at the ceiling. Now, you will instead be made to sit on a comfortable couch. The room will be relaxing, as it is designed to give the appearance and vibe of a simple living room instead of a typical doctor’s office.
What To Do
Keep in mind that you are probably not the first patient of your therapist. He or she has heard a lot of stories from different people. He or she is definitely not there to listen to you then judge you afterward. Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC often says, “A good therapist should be open and willing to understand your concerns. If your counselor doesn’t take your concerns seriously or is unwilling to accept feedback, then it’s probably in your best interest to consult with another therapist about it.”
Here’s what you should do: For a while, try picturing how a typical therapy session would look like so you wouldn’t get surprised of what goes on after the therapist welcomes you in the room. This may shake off your anxiety as you would come to the session with an idea of what exactly would happen.
Before the session, you can also remind yourself of the more in-depth details (certain personal relationships, history, painful memories) that you are not yet comfortable discussing but always be prepared to tell only the truth about the reason why you are seeking therapy and counseling. Convince yourself not to mask every and all past experiences that will be significant to your therapist helping you.
This way, you can also brush off all the false thoughts that ‘therapists would make you revisit your painful memories right away during the first meeting.’
The most important thing for you to think about to ease your anxiety is that everything you will talk about with your therapist is kept confidential.
First Therapeutic Session
It’s okay to be skeptical at first. Therapists are also doing their best to make you feel the most comfortable during each session. The immediate goal of every meeting is for you to open up and start moving towards your healing. Moreover, a good therapist knows the ethics and the best techniques to build rapport right before the initial meeting concludes.