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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.