Seeing a therapist (or even just a new therapist) for the first time can be a bit of a nerve-racking situation. You may be wondering what to expect, how the appointment will go, and whether or not your therapist will be suited for your needs. Whether you're seeking therapy for women or general counseling, the struggles can be the same. To help you prepare and take some of the stress out of the weeks leading up to your appointment, though, there are some steps you can take.
Gather a List of Medications
If you're on any medications, your therapist will likely want to know about them as soon as you arrive at your first session (and maybe even before that). Sit down and make a list of all the medications you're currently taking, along with the dosage for each and any side effects you've been experiencing. This will be helpful to your therapist, especially if any of your medications could be affecting your emotional health and well-being.
Define Your Goals and Outcomes
Have you thought about what you'd like to get out of your therapy appointments? This is something your therapist will probably ask you pretty early on during your first session to get an idea of how he or she can best help you. Therefore, taking some time to consider your ideal goals and outcomes for therapy ahead of time (and how to articulate those) will help. For example, maybe you want to get a handle on your anxiety, or perhaps you'd like to explore treatments for depression.
Prepare to Work Through Your Feelings
Therapy sessions can be emotionally exhausting, but the most productive appointments will be those where you're open and honest with your therapist. While it may be difficult to talk about some of the things that are going on in your life, it's a good idea to "rehearse" talking through some of the emotions you've been experiencing and issues you've been going through. This will make it easier for you to talk about when the time comes to speak to your therapist about them one-on-one.
Consider Keeping a Journal
In the weeks before your appointment, keeping a written journal (if you don't already) is a great way to reflect and help you get a better idea of some issues or topics you may want to discuss in therapy. If nothing else, a journal can help you better articulate your thoughts and feelings--and writing can be therapeutic in its own way!
By following these tips as you prepare for your first therapy appointment, you can quell some of your nerves for your first session.