Meeting with a psychologist for the first time: What to expect

June Comments

Seeing a psychologist for the first time can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Many clients arrive for their first session feeling a mixture of nerves, anticipation and uncertainty. Not only will they be sharing information about their concerns and difficulties, but they might also be sharing a basic history about their family and their background- with a total stranger! Many clients also worry that their reasons for seeking treatment or even they themselves may be negatively judged by their psychologist. These concerns are reasonable and understandable.

It is the job of your psychologist to help put you at ease in your first session and to create a space that is warm, accepting and welcoming. The aim of the session is for you and the psychologist to get to know one another and to work together in building an understanding of your concerns and difficulties. The psychologist will explain how the therapy process works, including clarifying your privacy and confidentiality. Together, you will then discuss your background history, the concerns that have brought you to therapy and what you might like to get out of your sessions (if you have some ideas about this already).

People often find it difficult to talk about the issues that have brought them to see a psychologist, or may feel like they don’t have any ideas about what they might like to gain from therapy. It is very natural to feel as though you don’t know where to start and your psychologist will be aware and understanding of this. It is important to take your time in therapy and your psychologist will work with you at a pace that feels emotionally safe for you. This may mean that you revisit issues together later in the sessions, when you feel more open and comfortable with your psychologist.

At the end of your first session, your psychologist may give you some information about how many sessions you might need, the kinds of work you might do together in therapy, and ideas about how you might start improving your wellbeing between sessions. If you and the psychologist both agree to work together in therapy, then you will have the option to book in some more sessions. These could be weekly or fortnightly at first, and the gap between your sessions might get longer as you begin noticing positive changes in your life.

While working with a psychologist can be a daunting experience, it can also be rewarding and life-changing. Feel free in your first session to ask any questions you may have. No concern is too big or too small for therapy and there are many ways that people benefit from psychology sessions. Booking an initial appointment is the first step to exploring how psychology sessions may help you to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

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