What to Expect When Meeting a Therapist for the First Time

October 24, 2017

The idea of starting therapy can incite all kinds of different emotions–fear, excitement, trepidation, or relief. Perhaps you are in the midst of a significant life change; a breakup, a job loss, or a location change. Such transitions may evoke stress but can also be a motivating factor to look inward. “How did I get here?” you may ask, “And how do I move forward?”

Or, it can be the opposite. Nothing has changed and you feel stuck. Or maybe you are going through a particularly challenging time with a spouse or family member. Communication is at a stand-still and you just can’t seem to see eye-to-eye. Whatever the case may be, therapy often helps and many people say it changes their lives for the better!

So, what can you expect upon meeting a therapist for the first time? The first session begins the journey of getting to know each other. Together, you will begin unpacking your therapeutic goals and objectives, such as

  • What brings you into therapy?
  • What are you looking to work on?
  • What are you hoping to get out of this experience?

While the client/therapist relationship is always unique, one inevitable focus in session is family of origin. We all carry with us inherited behaviors, passed down through generations of our family. One focus of therapy is to analyze our behaviors and identify what’s working and what’s not, and what’s worth changing. This is an especially helpful tool for new families and couples who are bringing their own set of behaviors and perspectives to the relationship.

Therapy is a journey, and a therapist will help guide and be with you along this journey. The process can encourage the expression of healthy behaviors, the abandoning of unhealthy ones, and creating new behavioral patterns that help us achieve the life and relationships that we want.

Cassie Stiffler, MFT