The decision to start counseling is big- and takes a lot of bravery. It's normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure about your first session. You might be talking about things you've never said out loud before. Maybe you're unsure what to expect. Here are some things to know about your first appointment:
- Your first counseling session is called the intake. Your therapist will be doing a lot of information-gathering, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. During my intake sessions, I focus not only on what has brought you into my office, but also the things that are going well for you- supportive family and friends, talents, passions. These things play a big part in your feeling better.
- Everyone's favorite thing, paperwork! You will be filling out some forms about your background and personal information. Your therapist will also go over a document called the informed consent, which covers what you can expect in counseling- everything from your therapist's background, specialities, and credentials, to session fees, to confidentiality. It is very important to have an understanding of this document, so be sure to ask questions if anything is confusing!
- The majority of the intake session will be an interview. Questions range from childhood experiences all the way up to how you have been feeling most recently. Depending on your situation, you might take some written questionnaires to help your therapist get an even better idea of how best to help you.
- Toward the end of the session, or even at the start of your second session, you and your therapist will start to come up with a few goals. These are the things you would like to focus on in counseling. Try visualizing how your life will look if counseling is successful. How will you feel? What will have changed?
Maybe you're ready to take the next step and set up your first appointment. If you are in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area, I would love to talk with you about counseling! Feel free to give me a call at 612-547-9040 or email me using the follow form.