Struggling with mental health issues is a complex journey, and seeking professional help is a big step towards your healing process.
Therapy can be a life-changing experience. However, it can also be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time meeting with a mental health professional. It’s normal to feel nervous or unsure about what to expect for your first appointment.
To help ease your nerves and anxiety, we’ve put together a list of things to know before you see a therapist for the first time.
1. Your therapist is there to help you
One of the most important things to remember is that your therapist is there to help you. Their role is to support you in your journey towards better mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share your concerns with them. The more open and honest you are, the more your therapist will be able to tailor their approach to your needs and find what works for you.
2. Your therapist will not judge you
Many people avoid therapy because of their fear of being judged or criticized. Therapists are bound by law and professional ethics to provide a non-judgmental space for their clients. They are trained to be empathetic, compassionate, and understanding. Therapists are aware that everyone has different experiences, perspectives, and points of view, and they will respect yours.
3. Patience is key
Therapy is not a quick fix. It’s a process that involves commitment, time, and effort. Some clients may see improvement in a few sessions, while others may need long-term therapy to heal. Your therapist will help you set achievable goals and work towards them at your own pace. Remember that therapy is an investment in yourself and your well-being.
It’s important to know, also, that therapists are not all-encompassing problem solvers. Your therapist will listen to you, ask questions, and offer feedback based on their clinical expertise. However, the ultimate goal is not to solve your problems, but to help you find your own solutions and learn new coping strategies.
4. You have control over your therapy
While your therapist is there to guide you, you ultimately have control over your own therapy. You have the power to set boundaries, ask questions, and make decisions about what you want to work on. You also have the power to decide when to stop therapy, or seek counsel elsewhere if that particular therapist isn’t the right one for you. It’s important to communicate openly about your needs and goals, and to speak up if something isn’t working for you.
5. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable
Feeling nervous or anxious before your first therapy session is completely normal. You’re opening up to someone about deeply personal issues, which can be scary, vulnerable, and uncomfortable at times.
You may be asked to confront difficult emotions or memories that you’ve been avoiding. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable or even scared during these moments. Your therapist is there to help you navigate these challenges and will provide a safe and supportive space for you to work through them.
6. Therapy is a journey, not a destination
Finally, it’s important to remember that therapy is a journey, not a destination. It’s a process of self-discovery and growth that requires ongoing effort and commitment. While it can be tempting to focus on a specific outcome, like feeling less anxious or depressed, the real benefit of therapy is in the journey itself. Embrace the process, stay open to new insights and perspectives, and trust that each step you take towards better mental health is a step in the right direction.
The decision to seek therapy isn’t always easy, but we’re proud of you for taking the first step and wanting to learn more about the process. Therapy is a collaborative approach, and your therapist will help you in your journey toward a happier and healthier life. We hope these steps have helped you feel more prepared and confident as you head into your first session.
If you haven’t scheduled an appointment with a therapist yet or are looking for new options, please reach out to us or give us a call at (217) 222-8254! Scheduling an appointment is easy, and our professional counselors and therapists at Cornerstone would be happy to meet with you.