What to Expect in your First Counseling Appointment
Many people have some anxiety going into their first therapy appointment. However, knowing what to expect can help ease some of that anxiety and help you better prepare for that first session.
Our therapists are trained to help you feel as comfortable as possible and will encourage you to go at your own pace. During that first session your therapist will go over the initial paperwork and then move on to learning more about you. Here are some things that might be helpful to know.
What Your Counselor Needs to Know about You
Why are you are seeking therapy at this time? It is likely that you are seeking counseling at this time to deal with a specific issue or issues that are impacting your life negatively. Some individuals have a clear idea of what is going on in their life and others have only a vague sense that “something doesn’t feel right” and they know that they are not as happy or fulfilled as they would like to be.
Your personal history and symptoms are relevant. The therapist will ask you several questions about your history and current life. This helps the counselor understand how long you have struggled with your concerns and what factors might have influenced its development. Your therapist will also want to know specifically what you are experiencing and how long you have been experiencing it so that they can best tailor an approach to fit your needs.
It is important that you are open with your thoughts and feelings. Our counselors are trained help make you feel comfortable and to ask questions about your life and history, but they are not mind readers. You will get the most out of your therapy experience if you are willing to be open and honest about your struggles.
What You Need to Know about Your Counselor
It is okay to ask questions. You might want to know more about the therapist’s experience in working with your particular issue. You might also want to know more about how your therapist approaches therapy and what you can expect from your time together.
Each therapist has their own style and approach to therapy and will be able to tell you how their approach may be helpful to you. If for some reason, the therapist does not have experience in working with a particular issue, he or she will be willing to refer you to a therapist that does have more experience and training.
Be sure to go into your first appointment with realistic expectations. Counseling is not a quick fix to your problems, but a process. While some individuals report feeling better after one session, others may find that it takes some time before they experiences the kind of changes they would like.
The most important aspect of starting therapy is that you feel that your counselor understands you and that you feel comfortable with them. Therapy is a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. You will get the most out of therapy if you are engaged and involved in the process.
Preparing Your Child for Counseling Appointments
At Central Christian Counseling Center, we sincerely desire that your child's counseling experience is helpful to you and your child and that it is a safe and comfortable time. With that in mind, there are some things you can do as a parent/caregiver before the first appointment and sequential appointments to make counseling a positive experience.
Therapists strongly recommend/require the following:
- Offer your child a snack/meal before the session. Hungry children do not focus well on concepts presented in counseling and bringing food into the counseling center is not allowed.
- Take your child to the restroom before the session. It is very distracting for children to leave and return to a session.
- Cell phones and other electronic devices are very distracting to children and therapists. Children are expected to leave their cell phones at home or with parents during counseling sessions.
- Illness is an acceptable reason for late cancellation with no late cancellation fee charged. Please do not bring/send children to therapy sessions when they are nauseated, sneezing, coughing, etc., or have an elevated temperature. Children who do not feel well are not able to focus on counseling.
- Please do not use counseling as punishment or a threat. Please do not tell young children they are going to see a doctor. (They envision injections, etc., and feel frightened/resistant.)
Therapists do require parents of children 10 and younger to remain present in the waiting room during sessions.
Thank you for observing these recommendations. If we can do anything to enhance your child's experience in therapy, please do not hesistate to let us know!