Anxious for Your First Therapy Session? Read This
A couple of years ago, I was in your place: anxious, nervous, and extremely stressed out for my very first therapy session. Countless questions were running through my mind, like, "Will my therapist judge me?", "Will they understand where I'm coming from?", "What will happen in the first session?", and "Will my therapist think my concerns are stupid?" Being anxious about your first therapy session is normal. As someone who grew up surrounded by people who thought that therapy was for "crazy people," I was extremely clueless about therapy and didn't know what to expect.
I debated going to therapy for an entire year before making my first appointment. While the first session was one of the hardest things I have had to do, I'm glad I booked the first appointment because it helped me learn coping techniques to manage my anxiety and changed my life for the better.
How I Dealt with Anxiety Before My First Therapy Appointment
If you're feeling anxious for your first therapy session, you are not alone. Here's what helped me:
- Realizing that being vulnerable is a gradual process. I am not used to being vulnerable and talking about my emotions. The thought of opening up to a therapist used to scare me and make me feel uncomfortable. However, I have realized that the more we keep things to ourselves, the harder it gets to be vulnerable. Additionally, I have also realized that my therapist doesn't expect me to open up to them about everything on the very first day. Being vulnerable is a gradual process, and I can take my time with it. Moreover, on the first day, my therapist told me, "You might feel uncomfortable sometimes. However, know that feeling uncomfortable is a sign you are working on the issues that brought you here in the first place." This helped me be okay with feeling uncomfortable.
- Talking to someone who has been to therapy. I didn't quite know what to expect in my first therapy session, so I reached out to a friend who went to therapy regularly. While everyone's therapy session is different, reaching out to my friend gave me insight into what therapy is like. This helped me know what to expect and made me less anxious. My friend also suggested telling my therapist that I was nervous as therapists know that first-time clients might feel overwhelmed and can help with it.
- Understanding that therapy takes time. Therapy is not a quick fix. It takes time to build a therapeutic relationship. It can last a few months or years depending on every person's needs and treatment plan. My therapist explained to me that we would be spending the first few sessions learning my issues and the coming sessions working on those issues.
Lastly, I told myself that it is okay if I don't click with my therapist. Finding a therapist can be a trial-and-error process. I told myself that if I had a negative experience with my therapist, I could always find another one. This helped me set realistic expectations for my first session.
Dhar, S. (2022, July 12). Anxious for Your First Therapy Session? Read This, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2022/7/anxious-for-your-first-therapy-session-read-this