Counseling is a step in the right direction when attempting to improve mental well-being. Anticipating the first session can induce stress and apprehension, particularly if you’ve never been involved in anything similar. It can be intimidating even if you’re familiar when you begin with a new counselor.
The most challenging part is finding a compatible therapist, including the reputable team at LinqCare Mental Health. Once you connect with someone, half the work is finished since meeting someone you feel comfortable with is probably the most vital component in the process.
When looking at the first professional session (since the consultation doesn’t count as a session), you must consider why you felt it necessary to take this path initially.
Everyone has their own goals when seeking mental health counseling, much of which is to improve this element of your wellness which will, in turn, impact other aspects of your well-being. It’s a difficult step to reach out for help, but it also takes courage and a desire to heal.
Tips For Preparing For Your First Counseling Session
It’s natural to feel intimidated, perhaps nervous, maybe a bit afraid of the unknown when your first counseling session is rapidly approaching. The consultation might have been relatively harmless, but there is a vulnerability that will likely be exposed this time.
You’re not quite sure you’re up for that, especially if you’re new to divulging private, personal feelings and emotions. Remember that a counselor will only ask you to reveal what you want to and progress at your pace. Learn why counselors stick with open-ended questions at https://www.verywellmind.com/open-ended-questions-2330693/.
Preparing yourself will help you to ease into the idea of the initial appointment. Let’s look at some ideas that might help.
● Achievable goals
For those who have never had therapy of any sort, a wise first move before attending a session is to journal out what you hope to achieve. Incremental goals are easier to accomplish in baby steps instead of long-term, heavy-duty tasks that you’re not ready for yet.
Each person has their own reason for reaching out for mental health assistance. Still, one common denominator many look for is improving this element of their wellness so that other aspects of their well-being might also be impacted for the better.
A more reachable goal than that in the very beginning is being able to get through a session and possibly express what motivated you to reach out.
● Expectations need to be reasonable
Therapy is a progressive process. Counseling sessions can be exceptionally advantageous, but these are not meant to be an instant fix. If you believe after a one-time session that you’ll leave all better, there will be a sense of a let-down when it’s over.
As you interact with the therapist and open little parts of yourself bit by bit with each interaction, more can be learned about your situation. Eventually, a healthy care plan can develop.
It takes much work and can take time, depending on the individual. Some are able to come full circle at a faster pace, but some have much more to work through and take much longer to reach their ultimate goal.
Sometimes after many sessions, you might find the counselor you’ve been working with is just not the right fit after all, and you need to begin again fresh with another therapist. These professionals don’t have all the answers to every question. It’s an exhaustive mutual effort. It would help if you kept your expectations realistic. Click to learn how mental health counselors can help.
● Take that moment
Schedule wisely, allowing time for space, peace, and quiet after the visit. No one knows how they’ll respond to having therapy. It will honestly depend on how draining the time with the counselor is.
In all honesty, that depends on you and how much you want to divulge in one sitting. Sometimes a therapist offers such comfortability, and you have a good connection that you feel more open to sharing.
While that’s good for a session, when you leave having exposed that much of yourself, reliving things that might not necessarily be pleasant or that are currently stressing you, combined with what was nervous knots worrying about the initial appointment, you can be quite emotional.
That’s why there’s a need to ensure that you have time after the visit to bring yourself back to a state of relaxation and calmness. Each appointment should hopefully get better the more you become familiar with the therapist and how the sessions will unfold.
There are so many more tips on preparing for your first visit. Many times when you go on the counselor’s website, there will be educational literature that can guide you on how to prepare for first visits, ways to cope with that initial appointment, tools to help you remain calm.
You can also call and express your apprehension. That’s what the professionals are there for to help guide you through these periods of anxiety. A therapist can offer you tools to cope with what you’re feeling so you can prepare to visit without those fears nagging at you.
The most important thing to remember is that the first session doesn’t need to be a gabfest. If you don’t want to talk or just want to get a feel for what takes place, do that. It’s about you. You run the show.