Your First Visit
How does therapy help?
Depending on your present situation and your reasons for seeking help, there are many benefits to therapy. If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment for a mental illness, therapy can help you better manage your symptoms, outbreaks, and triggers. It can also offer you increased coping skills and open your eyes to new ways of dealing with situations that you may not have been aware of before.
Therapy can offer problem-solving skills, provide support, and help you work through life changes, allowing you to see your circumstances as a personal growth opportunity instead of a burden or obstacle.
Some specific skills therapy can provide are:
- Emotional management, including, but not limited to anger, jealousy, grief, and depression.
- Coping mechanisms to allow you to work through situations which typically cause you anxiety, fear, or avoidance.
- Stress-management techniques to apply to deal with stress within your everyday life, such as with your job and family.
- Skills and techniques to help you better navigate relationships, or to work through relationship troubles.
- Problem solving skills for you to enact when you encounter issues which may typically have caused you to shy away or back down, such as social situations or public speaking.
- Improving self-love, self-confidence, and body image.
- Improving communication, listening, and the ability to speak up for yourself.
- Understanding your own skills, strengths, and positive attributes and learning to quiet your inner negative critique.
- Finding a resolution to the issues that originally led you to therapy, such as having panic attacks, or being unable to sleep.
While the decision to begin therapy is an individual choice, in many regards it may be helpful for everyone. There are a wide variety of reasons to begin therapy ranging from a diagnosed mental illnesses to help managing daily stress or a transitional period of your life. It is your treatment plan that will vary based on your individual circumstances.
What to expect on your first visit?
Your first therapy session has two main goals:
1. Assess your circumstances
We will take the first meeting to assess your current circumstances. While my areas of expertise may be consistent with your reasons for coming to therapy, we will need to address specific areas that are unique to you, and your current circumstances. From there, we will be able to better determine what type of therapy is right for you, what it will entail, and what it will look like for you in terms of fitting it into your day-to-day life. In addition, I may provide you with series of actions to do outside of our therapy sessions, such as practice a certain technique, or read a specific book, as it is important you take on an active role in your healing.
2. Build a relationship
Our first session will be more like a two way interview. I’ll get to know you, and you’ll get to know me. I will ask you questions to help me better understand your primary issues and concerns, as well as your history in terms of other events in your life, family, childhood, and career. However, you are welcome to ask questions too. In order for therapy to be successful, it is imperative we establish a client/therapist relationship that is supportive and honest. In fact, it is the nature – and the quality – of our relationship that will determine the success of your overall therapy goals. The success of the ‘meeting of the minds’ with your psychotherapist is the most accurate predictor of a positive, healthy outcome to the hard work you put in towards your happiness. As such, each client/therapist relationship will be unique but certain values and themes are true for all sessions, and you can expect the following:
- You can expect to be treated with compassion, empathy, respect, and understanding.
- You can expect to be presented with someone who is available to listen to you and listen to your interpretation of what you are currently experiencing.
- You can expect to receive knowledgeable and scientifically backed techniques and information to assist you in overcoming your mental health related struggles.
- You can expect to arrive in a safe, supportive, and confidential space.
- You can expect to receive real strategies and techniques you can use to enact positive changes on your life.
Is therapy confidential?
As a general rule, all therapy sessions are confidential and anything you discuss with your therapist will remain between the two of you, unless you request otherwise. This is as per protection rules by law, which all therapists legally need to follow, and no information from the session can be disclosed without prior written consent from the client.
There are exceptions to this law however, and the therapist can disclose information from the session to legal authorities or appointed persons if any of the following are true:
- The therapist suspects abuse to a child, dependent adult, or an elder, or are made aware of domestic abuse. These situations all require the therapist to notify law authorities immediately.
- If the therapist suspects an individual has caused, or is threatening to cause severe bodily harm to another person, therapists are required to report it to the police.
- If an individual intends to harm himself or herself, expressing to the therapist for example, plans for suicide. While the therapist will attempt to work through this in the therapy session, if it appears to be unresolved or the client does not cooperate, additional action may need to be taken to ensure the safety of the client.