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  • Writer's pictureJessica Trainor

What should I expect when I go to therapy?


Therapy has become a lot more mainstream in the past few years, with less stigma than it used to have. Many people happily share that they attend therapy and are working on improving their lives.

HOWEVER, therapy is not always easy. The first appointment can be scary. What will my therapist look like? What will they ask me? What will they be like? Will I like my therapist? Will my therapist like me? What happens if I don’t like my therapy?! AHHH.

All of these worries are natural – especially if it’s your first time taking this step.

Here’s a bit about what it’s like:

BUMMER ALERT: There is no laying on a couch.

  • The first time you meet with your therapist you will go through some intake questions. Your therapist will ask questions about what’s been most challenging recently, and what it is you want to focus on in therapy. Some examples of things I commonly see in my work are anxiety, people pleasing, need for control, binge eating, chronic dieting, emotional eating, low motivation, dissatisfaction with body, difficulties in relationships, and so on.

  • You may be asked to get to know how these things come up and impact your life. Is it hard to engage with others? Is it hard to focus at work or school? Do you find it hard to be present with your partner, children, friends, family? Do you avoid going places or bail on plans last minute?

  • You may even explore what physical symptoms come up when you’re struggling with these things. Do you find yourself constantly tearful? Do you notice your heart is always racing a million miles a minute? Do you find yourself constantly thinking about food? Do you feel nauseous a lot of the time?

  • The intake process also covers history, which can include how things used to be for you, your family history, history of traumatic events and so on.

  • At the end of your first session, you will set goals for things you want to see at the end of therapy to know it was helpful and successful for you.

  • WOO, you made it through the first session!

The following sessions can focus on a number of things depending on the goals set: processing, learning techniques/skills, psychoeducation, etc. It all depends on your therapist’s style, theory, as well as your preferences and input.

And make sure to remember that YOU ARE ALLOWED TO ASK QUESTIONS TOO. It can feel weird and uncomfortable to share parts of ourselves with someone we feel we don’t know. Make sure to get to know your therapist in a way that makes you feel most comfortable and at ease. This will allow you to feel like you are working as a team. Your therapist is not a master at life, YOU are the master of your own life. You know yourself best. Therapy is working together towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Use your first appointment or consultation call to really assess if you feel comfortable with this therapist, if you could see yourself opening up to them and trusting that they will be caring, non-judgmental and genuine. If you don’t feel comfortable or something doesn’t seem to vibe; that’s okay and the good news is that there are other options. Therapy is about finding the right fit - keep trying until you find someone who is a good fit for you.

Don’t let the movies fool you. It’s a lot more laid back than you think.

Book a consultation today to take YOUR first step.



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