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What to Expect From Your First Counseling Appointment

Hey Guys! Hope you’re all doing great! Over the past couple months I’ve really been enjoying using twitter as a way to gather what you guys would be interested in reading. It’s really helpful for me to know if you guys enjoy an idea I have. That allows me to create content you enjoy consuming & that I enjoy making. Basically, make sure you’re following me on Twitter so that you can take part in my polls as well! With all that being said I did a poll last week to see if you’d like a post on what to expect from your first counseling appointment. It was yes’s across the board, so that’s what I’m here to deliver.

I’ve been very open about my mental health and mentioned a couple months back that counseling would be my next step and we’re there now. This post is solely going to be about what you can expect from your first session. I started counseling two weeks ago for the first time, meaning I’ve only had one appointment. Before my first appointment I was so nervous that I spent the whole week before Google searching what you could expect. So, for anyone who is nervous like I was or for anyone who just wants a different perspective on what the first appointment is like…this post is for you, from me with love.

Counseling Flatlay

Before The Appointment

You’ve made a big step and decided that you need a little help. First off, well done! It can be a really daunting task to seek help and tell all your dark moments to a complete stranger, so be proud of yourself for taking this step.

Typically before you schedule your first appointment you’ll have to give the counselor you’re hoping to meet with a call and essentially have a brief consultation with them. They’ll ask you questions like, how you found out about them, what you’re hoping to achieve, and if you’ve ever done counseling before. For me I was also asked my faith because my counselor is faith based, which was a reason I sought her out.

The counselor is basically just trying to see if what you’re hoping to get from them is something they could potentially provide for you. It’s really helpful to have that initial phone call with them because time is extremely valuable on both sides.

The First Appointment

You’ve set up your first appointment and it’s finally here. The day of your first appointment can be life changing so be sure to be gentle with yourself. I’m going to walk you through what you can expect from the appointment structurally. Obviously everyone’s appointment is going to be different due to the subject you’re speaking about. For my first appointment their were three stages, logistics, background and the game plan.

Logistics

The first part of the appointment is a good way to ease yourself into the session. You won’t be jumping into the deep end the moment you sit down in their office. You’re going to have to fill out some forms, like at any doctors appointment. I had to sign a form that said I consent to being there, forms for billing and insurance and finally forms on HIPPA. For my non US readers HIPPA are laws that basically says the doctor can not share any of your medical information with anyone besides those you’ve specified on your form.

Finally before you jump into talking with one another your counselor will probably tell you that what you tell them is confidential unless you tell them you’re planning on hurting yourself or someone else. By law in the United States they are required to report those cases. Now it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes of the appointment.

Flatlay

Background

Once you have all the paperwork out of the way this is where the majority of your appointment will be spent. Your counselor is going to want to get to know you a little better, part of that will come with time but they are just creating a starting point.

You’ll travel all the way back to childhood, and you’ll talk about family, friends, school, work, relationships. All different things in life that can contribute to how we view ourselves and that can lead to mental health issues. Even though counseling can be intimidating, for some people you’ll know instantly if you vibe with your counselor because the words will just start flowing. That being said, don’t give up if they don’t start flowing. Everyone is different and just because you can’t tell your whole story the first time you meet this person doesn’t mean they aren’t going to work out for you.

I had a mixture of being able to easily tell her parts of my story and other parts that took a little more work on her end to get out. The biggest thing to remember is that, they understand what you’re doing is intimidating but they WANT to help you. It’s also important to remember that not ever counselor will work for everyone. Don’t count counseling out as a helpful tool just because one counselor didn’t work for you.

Game Plan

With the information that you have shared with your counselor, they will be able to help you get a feel of what is to come from following sessions. Know that they aren’t going to use the same approach for every one of their patients. In fact their most likely going to use a different approach for each client because we all have different needs. By the time you leave your appointment you should feel comfortable with the idea of where you’re going to end up. Okay, maybe comfortable isn’t the right word because going through counseling is uncomfortable. What I should say is, you’ll have a good understanding of what you can expect from yourself and from your counselor.

what to expect from counseling

Key Takeaways From Session One

Your first session is going to be overwhelming. If you’re anything like me and you don’t like change, it’s going to be really overwhelming but that’s okay. Change and healing are going to take time so be patient with yourself. You didn’t get to this point overnight so you won’t get out of it overnight either. Something I did after my first appointment was tell those close to me that I’m a little more fragile right now. Obviously you can’t put your life on hold because you’re going through counseling and it’s bringing some stuff up. However, you can let people know where you’re at. I explained to my loved ones that I’m doing something that is so far out of my comfort zone and, while it’s a good thing it’s making me more sensitive and irritable at the moment so be patient with me.

Again, I want to reiterate that going to counseling is an incredible step. No matter if you’re just starting, have been going for a while, or went in the past well done on making yourself a priority. What was your first session of counseling like? Please leave it down in the comments to that we can all read the different experiences. Sending you all a lot of love. Thanks for stopping by, until next time…

Be Nice. Be good.

Mich. x

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Simply Michelle

Hi! I’m Michelle, but you can call me Mich. I’m just your normal 24 year old trying to figure out life and thought I’d share some of my experiences and interests with the world. This blog will cover all things under the sun from makeup favorites to mental health to religion and everything serious or not so serious in between! I want us to build a little community filled with love and support so please leave me comments and hit that follow button on your way out. This blog has a very special place in my heart and feels like a important part of my path in life so I hope you stay a while and check out what it’s like to be Simply Michelle.

Be Nice. Be Good.

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30 Comments

  1. This is such a helpful and insightful post Michelle thank you so much for sharing. I don’t personally attend counselling but I’m looking into saving up for it to help me with my mental health and dealing with issues I have in a healthy way and manner. It seems to be such a daunting way and you’ve written this post in a useful and nurturing way, it has been so nice to read as it’s made me feel less nervous about seeking help. I hope that the rest of your counselling goes well and that it helps you in any way it can. God bless you
    Alex xx
    http://allthingsalexx.wordpress.com/

    1. alex, thank you for this thoughtful comment. it’s comments like this that remind me why I love blogging so much. i’m glad this post has brought you some comfort about seeking help. sending you so much love xx

  2. Congratulations for taking that incredible step and charging through even though it was overwhelming.

    1. thank you! 💕

  3. What an amazing and brave first step to make, and to share with others I know it will inspire and spur many others onwards onto their journeys x

    1. thank you so much debbie, this is such a kind thing for you to say. xx

      1. Sending love and hugs xx

  4. I’ve been looking forward to reading this since you tweeted about whether people wanted to see it. I’ve never done anything like this so this was really informative for me. It sounds like your first session went really well! And I’d totally be the same googling everything before I went too. Loved reading this and I hope it helps put a few people at ease x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    1. thanks so much babe! i’m so glad you enjoyed it xx

      1. Brilliant post. I love how honest and open you are and how well written the post is. I didn’t know what to expect from my first counselling session and I was so anxious about it! I’m sure your post will help settle people’s nerves around counselling, well done!

  5. This is such a helpful post Mich! Thank you for sharing, counselling can be so daunting at first, it is always really reassuring to read others experiences to put our minds at ease. I’m so glad you had a positive first session, it really is such a brave step in the right direction. I’ve had counselling on and off for a while now and always feel much better after talking and putting things into perspective. I wish you all the best with your counselling journey and hope it all goes well. Well done for talking so openly about mental health and I’m sure this post will help and encourage others too, thank you again for sharing <3 xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. thank you so much bexa this is incredibly sweet. I completely agree about feeling better after a session, i feel lighter because i don’t have to hold everything in xx

  6. God I remember the first therapy appointment I had with my private counselor. It was awful. I was ill that day anyway, I had a rotten cold so I’d spent all day in bed so by the time I had to get up and go, I felt really dizzy and sick. It was also scorching hot outside AND our car at the time had no air conditioning. And getting hot is my main anxiety trigger. So you can imagine how well that journey went! I was super anxious through the whole thing but luckily I really liked her so I kept going to her for another few years. I don’t really want to think about where I’d be without her x

    1. oh gosh that sounds like an AWFUL way to start something that is meant to be so helpful, i’m sorry you had a rough first go but it’s great that you ended up clicking with her, it’s amazing how much these total strangers can help us xx

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this, I have been toying with the idea of seeing a grief counsellor but I kept talking myself out of it.

    I need something as honest as this to show me that I needn’t be afraid of asking for help and opening up about how I feel.

    1. oh! you don’t know how happy this made me! this is exactly why i wrote this post thank you for this. i do hope you seek the help that you DESERVE💕

      1. Thank you so much, it really has helped me. I’ve got an appointment in 2 weeks thanks to your post x

      2. THIS IS WONDERFUL, very proud of you x

  8. This is a great post! I’ve always have really good experiences when it comes to counselling – just being able to sit and rant to a stranger about your life, knowing you’ll get no judgement from them, it really helped me. And the fact that it’s literally their job to help us, makes it all the more comforting x

    1. thank you i totally agree! my counselor seems very similar to me so that’s been really helpful xx

  9. Asher says:

    Counselling is great and I think it should be seen as a positive option. Good post x

    1. i couldn’t agree more, i believe we could all benefit from it xx

  10. I’m on my third therapist and set of sessions now so have definitely gotten used to the whole process of it. It is SO daunting at first but like you said, it’s so important to remember that they’re only there to help you! One of the things I always worry about is if they judge me or my decisions as well haha but it’s literally their job to make you feel better so I guess that’s very unlikely. This is a great post Michelle and I’m sure it will help lots of people!
    Alice Xx

    1. thank you so much alice, i still worry that i said something wrong when their is a pause in between what i say and what she says lol! it’s all about the process of getting comfortable x

  11. This is SUCH a beneficial post. I reckon this will help so many people!

    Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk

    1. thank you so much xx

  12. Lellalee says:

    What a great post! I had no idea what to expect in my first counselling session. Once I began to talk, I felt so much lighter. By the end of my first session I wasn’t 100% convinced it was the cure I needed, but I’m so glad I stuck with it – it was in fact just the thing I needed! xxx

  13. This is a great post! I’ve been thinking about counselling for a while just because I know there is some stuff that I’m not dealing with that is having repercussions now, but I haven’t been brave enough to take that first step yet. Reading this is really helpful – it stops it sounding like such a big, scary thing, even though it’s never going to be easy, it’s not impossible. Thanks for sharing.

  14. This was very insightful! I’ve been to counselling before, and am currently in a therapy/counselling environment, and find it to be so, so helpful in discovering what I need to do to help myself. It’s also dragged up al ot of stuff I wasn’t aware of about myself.

  15. […] briefly mentioned therapy here on my blog, and my first session. I spoke more about it in my monthly newsletter (hint hint subscribe down below). For those who […]

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