What To Expect At Your First Psychotherapy Appointment

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Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It offers a safe space to share your problems and concerns without fear of prejudice. The therapist usually creates an atmosphere where you can share the most critical things about yourself. This includes experiences you’re afraid of or uncomfortable sharing with anyone else.

Psychotherapy is beneficial because it can help you deal with several mental health issues like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. It’s one of the most powerful tools to fight stress and life challenges. Furthermore, it allows you to develop the correct coping mechanisms for certain issues and circumstances.

Therapy sessions can help you understand your moods, behaviors, feelings, and overall mental health. Therefore, if you’re struggling to manage your mental health, it would be best to schedule a psychotherapy appointment to help you address these problems. The session is usually interactive as you and your therapist get to know each other.

If you’re wondering where to find a therapist, you can search ‘psychotherapy near me‘ to easily find one in your area. Moreover, it’s best to check the professional you’ll work with and ensure they have all the required certifications.  

Once you’ve booked your appointment, you can expect a few things at your first psychotherapy appointment. This includes the following:

1. Questions From The Therapist

First appointments usually take time because the therapist will spend most of this session getting to know you. In this regard, you can expect several questions about your personal life. Hence, they may either have a free-flowing conversation with you or choose to have a formal or structured interview.

Some of the things the therapist may want to know to include the following:

  • What’s your history, background information, or life circumstances?
  • What are your goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses? 
  • How is your relationship with yourself and other people? 
  • What are the struggles you’ve had throughout your life?
  • Have you experienced childhood trauma, substance abuse, or other forms of abuse?
  • Are there any symptoms you’re exhibiting right now?
  • What are your reasons and goals for seeking psychotherapy treatment?

These are some of the questions that you can expect. If you’re worried, scared, or uncomfortable talking about a particular subject, remember that your psychiatrist needs all the information to give you the proper treatment.

Since it’s your first appointment, you can inform your therapist that you’ll be comfortable answering the difficult questions later and request them to ask more straightforward questions first. Ideally, it’s essential to communicate your limits and boundaries with your psychiatrist, especially if you’re living with trauma.

One thing you need to remember is that therapy should be a safe space for you. As the client, you’re mandated to set the pace since therapy is designed to work in your favor. So, you should feel respected, safe, accepted, valued, and as comfortable as you can be.

The essence of your first session is making a connection with your therapist. If you find that you’re struggling to connect, then you can choose another therapist. It’s important to note that not all therapists are suitable for everyone. So, it’s best to assess if the professional you’ve gone for is a good match and make necessary changes if you feel your psychiatrist isn’t the right fit.  

2. The Professional Might Ask You To Fill Out Forms

Before you start your psychotherapy sessions, or as you progress, the psychiatrist can ask you to sign an ‘informed consent’ document that shows you’ve agreed to start therapy. Some of the details included in the list include the following:

  • Your therapist’s licensing information and name
  • The professional’s practice policy
  • Information on confidentiality and patent rights
  • The expected period during which the therapy will take place
  • The fees you’re required to remit

The psychiatrist might ask you to fill out other questionnaires besides this document. The questions in the different forms include:

  • Your medical history
  • Your current state of mind
  • Your mental health history

When answering, you only have to ensure that you’re honest if you want effective help and care. Also, try reading all the details written in the agreement before signing so that you’re sure about the conditions you’ve agreed upon.

3. Your Therapist May Allow You To Ask Them Questions

As highlighted earlier, this is an interactive session where you get to know each other with your psychiatrist. AdobeStock 548267786So, after the psychiatrist has asked you questions, they’ll also allow you to interrogate them. You may ask about general therapy or make the queries more personalized.

Some questions you can ask the professional include the following:

  • What feedback do they get from other clients?
  • Have they encountered a similar background story to yours, or is your case exceptional?
  • What are the different treatment approaches in psychotherapy?
  • How long does it take to heal from trauma?

Clear answers to the questions above can help you mentally prepare for what lies ahead. You’ll also know the treatment approach the professional might use to help you heal from your mental health issues.

4. You Might Be Requested To Give Some Financial Details Or Insurance

Having your insurance information ready for your first psychotherapy session is critical. This information will help the therapist ascertain the total costs and those that have been covered.

You’re required to give your financial information if your psychiatrist offers sliding scale options. This will help them determine the amount you’re required to pay. Some of the things that you need to understand are the psychiatrist’s policies regarding billing practices, late fees, and the like. Once you’re in a mutual agreement, you’re unlikely to struggle with the future cost you must pay.


Suffering from mental health issues can be challenging and require support. In such a case, it’s ideal to seek professional help. If it’s your first psychotherapy appointment, you can expect an interactive session with your psychiatrist. Here, you can discuss your background and experiences, which leads to your mental health problems. As long as you’re dealing with a certified psychiatrist, you can get adequate guidance and treatment for your mental health problems.  

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Eda Hickman is a fourth-year psychology major and a mental health advocate. She also writes blogs to impart her knowledge about mental health. During her past time, she loves running and spending time with her pets.

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