What To Expect In Therapy: A Charlotte Therapist’s Insights
Seeking professional help can feel overwhelming. For most people, committing to psychotherapy can take a lot of courage, and scheduling the first appointment is the hardest part of the therapeutic process. The good news? Even if you haven’t started counseling yet, you’ve already taken a significant step toward better mental health. To make the most out of your first session, you should have a general idea of what to expect to prepare beforehand. Here’s what to expect so you can get the most out of psychotherapy from day one.
What should you expect during your first session?
Your first therapy session will be different from future visits. Your first session is an opportunity for you and your psychotherapist to get to know each other, establish treatment goals and plans, and explore different types of therapy. Some questions your psychologist might ask during your first session include:
- What mental health symptoms are you experiencing?
- What brought you to talk therapy? Are you experiencing any specific challenges?
- Have you tried talk therapy in the past? If so, what was that experience like?
- What do you expect from talk therapy?
- Do you have supportive people in your life? If so, who?
During your first session, you and your therapist may talk about the length of your treatment, the types of therapy to employ, and the ins and outs of patient confidentiality. In general, future therapy sessions will be more therapeutic and less focused on logistics. For example, during your second session, you might explore specific mental health symptoms, past experiences, or relationships that you discussed during your first session.
What should you talk about during psychotherapy?
Whether you’re starting talk therapy for the first time or transitioning to online therapy, the direction of your therapy sessions will vary depending on your mental health concerns, psychotherapist, and the type of therapy. In most cases, your psychotherapist will lead the conversation. They might ask questions about your past or current experiences, mental health problems, feelings, thoughts, or relationships to learn more about your mental well-being. If you have trouble figuring out what to say during your therapy sessions, take some time to prepare before your next session. It can be helpful to jot down your mental health goals, any stressors you’re facing, and any questions you want to ask your psychologist. This way, you can make the most of your sessions and sort through any issues bothering you.
Remember, there’s no “right” or “wrong” thing to talk about during your therapy sessions. Instead, it’s your time to dive into any issues and be vulnerable in a safe, confidential space. If you’re unsure how to start a session, try recapping what happened—good and bad—since your last therapy session. From there, you can decide what topics to explore together.
How can you tell if your therapist is the right fit?
Whether you seek online counseling for relationship issues or psychodynamic psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy for emotional problems, it’s essential to find a good fit with your therapist. A key component of successful treatment is your therapeutic relationship, which usually becomes stronger over time. However, if you’re still not clicking after a few sessions, you can always search for a new therapist. To determine if your counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist is right for you, the National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- Do they challenge you?
- Do they check in with your mental wellness?
- Do they guide you toward positive change?
- Do they help you gain insight into your well-being?
- Do they show acceptance, empathy, and compassion?
- Do they treat you as an equal?
If your answer to any of these questions is “No,” then it’s best to listen to your gut and find a new therapist. At the end of the day, the best therapist is someone you can trust and feel comfortable opening up to. Even though psychotherapy can bring up painful emotions, you should always feel safe and secure during your sessions.
Compassionate, Data-Driven Talk Therapy in Charlotte
Talk therapy can be hard work—and it’s essential to trust the therapeutic process and make the most of your sessions. Ultimately, finding the right therapist can make all the difference in your mental health journey.
To find the right match, reach out to a licensed therapist through The Therapy Group of Charlotte. Reaching out for professional support is a sign of strength, and we’re here to help you every step of the way with customized, data-driven treatment. Our experienced mental health professionals will help you navigate your mental health, work toward positive change, and become the best version of yourself.