Updated: Nov 7
By: Ready Nest Intern, Lauren Hamrick
The decision to seek help through talk therapy is a significant step towards improving your mental and emotional well-being! However, taking that step can be accompanied by anxiety and uncertainty, especially if it's your first therapy appointment. Understanding the process, the therapist's role, and your own expectations can help alleviate any apprehensions you may have and make the experience more comfortable and beneficial.
Before Your First Therapy Appointment at Ready Nest Counseling:
The care coordinator will email you and the therapist you were assigned to and introduce you via email. The therapist will reply by introducing themselves. If anything comes up and you need to reschedule your first appointment, feel free to email your therapist directly to make these changes.
The care coordinator will also create a profile for you in our HIPAA-compliant electronic health record system, Simple Practice, to which you will have your own portal. You will be instructed to fill out the intake paperwork and credit card authorization form through the portal. It is very important to complete this step before your first appointment.
Setting the Stage:
Your first therapy appointment, often referred to as an “intake session” serves as an opportunity for you and the therapist to get to know each other. Here's what you can expect at your first therapy appointment:
Privacy and Confidentiality: Therapy is a confidential space. Your therapist is bound by ethical and legal obligations to keep your discussions private, with a few exceptions, such as concerns for your safety or the safety of others. This will all be explained in the first session during the informed consent process.
Ready Nest Policies and Procedures: Your therapist will go over important Ready Nest Counseling policies and procedures, such as our cancellation and no-show policies as well as other important information regarding scheduling and payment information.
Duration: The first appointment will be the same amount of time as subsequent appointments, which includes about 50 minutes. During the intake process, it may feel more like an interview because your therapist will need to gather a lot of information regarding your symptoms, concerns, therapeutic goals, medical and mental health history, family history, etc.
Appointment Logistics: You'll typically schedule your next appointment at the end of your first appointment and talk about a frequency of visits that is best for your personal mental health needs. Every appointment is booked through our HIPAA-compliant electronic health records system, Simple Practice. If you are planning on utilizing our telehealth option, all sessions will be administered through Simple Practice as well.
Meeting Your Therapist
Your therapist will greet you and create a welcoming environment. They will introduce themselves, provide information about their qualifications, and discuss the therapeutic process briefly. It's perfectly acceptable to ask questions about their experience, therapeutic approach, and any other concerns you may have. Remember that your therapist’s goal is to create a safe space for you to feel open enough to ask questions and explore.
During the first session, your therapist will take on several roles:
Active Listener: They will listen carefully to your concerns, allowing you to express your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Assessor: Your therapist will ask questions to gain a better understanding of your history, current issues, and goals for therapy.
Educator: They may provide information about the therapeutic process, their approach, and what you can expect from future sessions.
Collaborator: The therapist will work with you to set realistic goals and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Sharing Your Story:
The therapist will invite you to share your story and the reason you sought therapy in the first place. This is your opportunity to express yourself honestly. It can be helpful to prepare in advance and think about what you'd like to discuss during the session. Remember, therapy is a safe space to be open and vulnerable.
Setting Goals and Expectations:
Your therapist will work with you to set realistic goals for therapy. These goals can vary widely, from managing anxiety or depression to improving relationships or personal growth. It's essential to communicate your expectations and what you hope to achieve throughout the therapy process.
Therapists use various approaches and techniques based on their training and your specific needs. Some common therapeutic approaches include:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Focusing on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Narrative Therapy: Exploring the client’s understanding of their own story and how you can reinterpret that story to help improve mental health functioning.
Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Incorporating mindfulness techniques to improve self-awareness and reduce stress.
Solution-Focused Therapy: Strength-based, goal-directed approach that focuses on creating positive change.
*Remember: these are only examples of a few therapeutic approaches.
Discussing Duration and Frequency:
Your therapist will help you decide on the frequency of sessions. While this can vary depending on your needs, availability, and resources. In order to gain therapeutic momentum, weekly sessions may be suggested, especially at the beginning of therapy. The number of sessions needed varies from person to person and depends on the nature of your concerns.
Building a Therapeutic Relationship:
The therapeutic relationship is the foundation of successful therapy. It's essential to feel comfortable and supported by your therapist. If you don't feel a connection or think that the therapist is not the right fit for you, it's completely okay to seek another therapist who better meets your needs. If this is the case, please reach out to our intake coordinator via email.
Attending your first therapy appointment can be empowering! It’s a step toward improving your mental and emotional well-being, and it’s important to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to engage in the process. While the first session may come with some anxiety, understanding what to expect can help alleviate some of those concerns.
If you find yourself in need of professional help, don't hesitate to reach out to us and schedule a session. Our dedicated team at Ready Nest Counseling is here to help you navigate life's challenges and transitions with care and compassion. Whether you're experiencing difficulties related to conception, pregnancy, postpartum, infertility, loss, parenting, or relationships our therapists are ready to support you. We offer both in-person and virtual therapy. Schedule a therapy session with us today and take the first step towards a healthier you. Ready Nest Counseling also offers support groups for new moms and those who have experienced pregnancy loss. Remember, you don't have to face it alone – we're here for you.