Preparing for Your First Counseling Appointment
Whether you have anxiety, depression, addiction, or other issues, many people benefit from counseling. However, it can be scary to start going to counseling, even after you’ve been able to find an appropriate therapist. By preparing for your visit, you can take away some of your uncertainty to start a productive counseling relationship. Here are some specific steps that can make the process seem less daunting and mysterious.
Fill out all of the Needed Paperwork
This isn’t an exciting task, but it’s still needed. Most offices will have new patient/client forms to fill out for insurance and assessment purposes. There are also forms that discuss cancellation policies, payment structures, and confidentiality rules. Some offices have assessments you can do ahead of time, especially for issues such as depression or anxiety. If you have hospital discharge papers or the results of recent psychological tests, these documents can also shed light on your background and what you might need most in therapy.
Think about Why You Want Therapy in the First Place
It can be helpful to make a list of what you’re feeling and what your goals are. For example, you’ll have different needs if you want to be more comfortable speaking in public than if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. If you can, create some specific goals related to your treatment to clarify what your treatment path looks like.
What Else is Happening?
Keep in mind that other forces can influence your mood and chances of success. Losing a job, a rough patch in your marriage, or economic concerns are just some of the many factors a therapist has to consider when working with you find the best treatment.
What Have You Tried Already?
Thinking about what you’ve done already helps you and your therapist avoid spending time on ideas that haven’t helped you. If you have something that’s working, you and your therapist can build on it to make it work better. This is also where you could discuss medications with your therapist, if you choose to go that route.
Don’t be afraid to ask about your therapist’s background, training, methods, or experience. Ask about what you might need to do between sessions or what the plan is going forward.
What to Remember
You’re in therapy for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up! If something’s not sitting right, mention it—your therapist isn’t a mind reader, so letting them know what’s going on isn’t insulting them. They’ve also seen a lot of different clients, so they’ve heard stories like yours before. Plenty of people have benefited from therapy, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed, “weak”, or “crazy” for seeing someone. After all, we all see professionals such as car mechanics, doctors, and dentists to help us with issues. Therapy isn’t any different. So breathe a little and congratulate yourself on taking the first step toward a better you.
If you are looking for counseling services we offer our counseling and therapy services at our Dallas and Mesquite offices. Call us today to set up a consultation that will help your mental health.