• What Will Happen in My First Therapy Session?

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    Whether you are trying to cope with mental illness or want to improve your mental health in general, consider giving individual counseling near Manhattan a try. An experienced therapist can help you connect with your inner-self and find answers to mental health questions. Therapy can help you develop skills to identify and manage your triggers.

    Starting therapy for the first time might seem a bit daunting and intense. You may not know what to expect and may even wonder if you made the right decision. While each therapist has their own approach, the initial therapy session generally has a common structure. In your first therapy session, you will complete paperwork. The initial consultation with your therapist is an opportunity for you and your therapist to get to know each other.

    Paperwork & Waiting

    Before your initial consultation with your therapist begins, you might be required to fill out various documents. Some practitioners may e-mail these forms to their clients before their initial consultation, while others might request clients to complete the required paperwork as they wait for their appointment to start.

    Some of the documents you might be required to review, complete, and sign could include an authorization release if you’re using health insurance for payment, a consent form that details your therapist’s policies and the processes they follow and checklists pertaining to your medical history.


    Many therapists start their first session with a client by securing informed consent. This involves educating the client about the potential advantages, and possible results of individual counseling near Manhattan. If you have already filled out and signed this document (before the session), your therapist will review it to make sure you fully understand the treatment process. During your first session, your therapist should explain their treatment methodology. They could discuss their previous experience, educational background, or other pertinent clinical information related to their practice.

    Some therapists might use this opportunity to share personal details—such as whether they have pets and/or children. They may also talk about their hobbies and interests —to break the ice and connect with the client.

    Talking About why you are Seeking Therapy

    Before you start therapy, it’s important to have an idea of your therapy goals. Think about the things you want to change in your life or the problems (can be overthinking or concentration/focus problems) you want to tackle.  If you don’t have a very defined objective, at least try to develop a basic understanding of the problems you want to address.

    Different people have different therapy goals. Some individuals may want to improve their organizational/communication skills or become more responsible, while others may need help identifying the right way to grieve the loss of a loved one. Many people seek therapy because they feel angry or sad without any reason and want to learn constructive ways to vent pent-up frustration.

    Your Therapist Will Ask You Questions

    Your therapist will require details about your personal history, family background, and medical history to gain a deeper understanding of your psyche. Some questions might seem general, while others may feel way too personal or intrusive. Remember, you’re not obligated to answer questions that make you uncomfortable. However, keep in mind that your responses will help your therapist in offering the best possible support.

    Some common questions therapists ask their clients during the initial consultation include:

    • What prompted you to seek therapy now?
    • What aspects of your life are currently causing you the most stress?
    • Have you previously undergone therapy? How was the experience?
    • Do you have any apprehensions regarding therapy?
    • What are your expectations of therapy?

    You Can Ask Questions Too

    You can ask your therapist questions about their professional background or experience. However, be aware that they might choose not to reply to all questions, especially the personal ones.

    Here are some questions to ask your therapist at your first appointment.

    • Do you have any experience handling similar cases?
    • How long have you been practicing?
    • How long do you expect I will stay in therapy?
    • Do you have any certifications?
    • How often do you suggest we meet?
    • What if I want to contact you in-between sessions or during an emergency?
    • How do you assess your clients’ progress?
    • How soon do you expect I will start seeing results?
    • According to you, which type of psychotherapy can help me?

    Your Therapist Might Give you a Treatment Plan

    Once your therapist has discussed your therapy goals and objectives, they might use the information provided by you to develop a treatment plan. Your insurer may want to have a look at your treatment plan when deciding whether to authorize your treatment. Remember nothing is set in stone. Your therapist will revisit and evaluate your treatment plan at regular intervals and update it as required to meet your evolving needs.

    An effective treatment plan lays down a treatment roadmap. It increases the chances of the patient achieving their therapy goals. Creating a mental health treatment plan is a collaborative process, so you should have a say in it.

    Ending Your First Session

    At the end of your first session, you can set up your next appointment and provide payment details. Your therapist may keep your credit card information on file to save you the hassle of entering your card number and other details at the end of each appointment.

    Your therapist might give you assignments at the end of the first session, which you can complete before your next session. Even if they don’t provide specific tasks, you’re always free to ask for them.

    How Long Do Therapy Sessions Last?

    Therapy sessions usually last 45-60 minutes. Couples, group, and family counseling sessions might extend up to two hours. Your initial consultation session might last longer as your therapist may require extra time to fill out necessary forms or questionnaires.

    Are you struggling with a mental disorder? Let Cooper Mental Health Counseling help you get your mental health back on track. Our therapists have years of experience treating different types of mental health problems. To book an appointment for individual counseling near Manhattan, call (347) 244-7873.

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