THE FIRST SESSION
When you first arrive at my office you'll be asked if you'd like something to drink. You'll have the option of a variety of teas, coffee or water. There is a washroom just outside the main office door should you need.
After we have taken care of payment, we will then turn our attention to necessary forms. To read more about the what these forms are and why we need them please click here. When we meet and immediately after taking care of payment I will need to go over the Consent Form with you and both of us will sign it. After this I'll have a quick look over the Client Information Sheet you've completed and brought with you (or sent via fax in special circumstances) and may ask you some questions for clarification.
The rest of the first session
A lot of people wonder (and are quite anxious about!) what to talk about in the first appointment. Usually once the forms are reviewed and filled out I'll ask you to tell me your story or what brings you to therapy. At that point it's up to you what you want to share about what you're experiencing*.
After you share some information I will likely ask you questions. This is the part of the first appointment that a lot of clients have said they dread. So, let me clarify right up front that these questions are not meant for any other purpose that to help me get a better sense of you and what you're dealing with. They help round out the picture somewhat.
As you can imagine two different people may come in saying they're each struggling with anxiety, however each will likely have had very different life experiences and a different journey to get to where they currently are. So, my questions may cover a lot of different areas, like how long this has been going on for you, to what the symptoms are like (if any), to how you've tried to solve it in the past, and what makes it worse and what makes it better.
I may also ask you questions about your current relationships and family background, such as whether you have people right now in your life that are supporting you, and whether there's anything about your upbringing or family history that is relevant to what you're going through. I may ask about whether you have experienced this issue or something similar before, and whether you experience any physical health issues and/or are taking any medications.
*A little hint:
The more up front and honest you can be at this appointment with your therapist about what you're experiencing and dealing with the more likely it is that your therapist will have the information needed to help you. Sometimes people leave things out of what they tell their therapist because they don't think it's relevant or important, don't feel comfortable, or are embarrassed.
Unfortunately I've had the experience multiple times where a client then chooses to disclose a certain previously hidden piece of information later on in the therapeutic work and it changes everything and makes much clearer what was a previously unnecessarily murky or convoluted path for them.
So, the moral of the story is share whatever you know about the issue you're hoping to work on with your therapist.