Your first appointment with a new therapist can be stressful if you do not know what to expect. When you first meet with a therapist, they will usually have you fill out forms and questionnaires. The first session is a good time for you and your therapist to get to know each other. The therapist may ask you questions about what brought you to therapy, any challenges you are experiencing, your past experiences with therapy, and other personal questions about your life. When they are finished with their questions, they should ask you if you have any questions. You can use this opportunity to interview the therapist to help figure if they are a good fit for you.
Every therapist does therapy in different ways. Some therapists might just ask questions and let you do most of the talking. Others may be more talkative or give you homework. If you know exactly what you are looking for with a therapist, you can tell them, and if you do not know what you need, you can tell them that too! Some questions that can help you think about what you want from therapy include: Why do you want to go to therapy? What are you hoping to gain from it? What are your current struggles that you are hoping to manage through therapy? What are your goals?
It is really important to communicate with your therapist, so you can learn more about each other. You have to interact with them to find out if you two are compatible . Ask your therapist questions about themselves and their therapy approach.
These are some questions you can ask your therapist:
- How long have you been practicing therapy?
- What licenses or certifications do you have?
- What age group do you typically work with?
- Do you have experience working with people from different cultures and backgrounds?
- Have you ever worked with someone from my background?
- How much do you charge?
- Do you accept my insurance?
- What are my payment options?
- Can you explain what I can expect to happen in my sessions?
- What kind of goals can you help me achieve?
- What is your general philosophy about therapy?
- What are your strengths as a therapist?
- What kind of training do you have?
- What type of therapy do you do?
- What are your office protocols (i.e. scheduling, missing appointments, virtual therapy, etc.)?
- How often would we see each other?
Remember that the therapist is there to serve YOU! Do not feel ashamed to ask questions.
If, after the meeting, you feel like you and the therapist were not compatible, you can always find another therapist who can help you with your goals. Trust your instinct!