Deciding to visit a mental health counselor is a big first step towards acknowledging that you need and deserve professional, unbiased help to feel better with your emotions and in your life.
It might happen during a particularly stressful period, following a trauma or loss, or you might have been feeling anxious or depressed for a very long time now. Whatever your particular circumstances are, you should be proud of yourself for making this decision.
If you are new to counseling services and have never been in any form of therapy before, then our counselors in Geneva are here for you. We are going to break down what is going to happen during your first therapy session so you can better prepare and make the most of it.
Arriving at the Counseling Practice
Most counseling sessions last at least 30 or 50 minutes, but your initial appointment is likely to go on for quite a lot longer (up to 90 minutes, in some cases). Make sure that you arrive at the counseling practice a few minutes earlier and check with your counselor whether they have a dedicated waiting area.
If they do, simply sit there until you are called by your therapist, and maybe use this time to fill in any relevant paperwork and get yourself a glass of water or a warm drink to feel more relaxed and at ease.
Meeting Your Counselor
If you are new to counseling, then the chances are that you might have spoken to your therapist on the phone or via email, but never in person. Well, at your first appointment you will finally meet your counselor, introduce yourself, and form any first impressions.
Remember that first impressions, in mental health therapy, are actually quite important. If your Geneva counselor you chose doesn’t seem to “click” with you, or if there is something about them that you don’t like, then it’s wise to move on to a different one.
Once you are happy with your therapist, your first session can begin. You might feel a mix of different emotions. Many people say that they feel hopeful but also scared, optimistic but also embarrassed. Don’t worry, because all of this, and much more, is completely normal.
After all, you are about to slowly and gradually reveal yourself and your most intimate life to a perfect stranger. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist to take a break during the session if things get a bit too overwhelming. Similarly, don’t feel like you can’t tell them something because it’s too private. All of the things that you discuss here will remain confidential.
During your first session, your therapist will likely ask you many questions (more than what you will ask them), including:
- Are you new to therapy?
- How are you feeling, and what are your struggles right now?
- Is anyone within your family suffering from mental health problems?
- Tell me a bit about your family and your childhood
- Do you work? Are you in a relationship?
- Have you ever harmed yourself, or thought about doing so?
- Have you ever attempted suicide, or thought about doing so?
- What are your hopes and expectations for your therapy? What do you hope to achieve?
- What do you think might be an obstacle to your success?
While the questions that you ask are going to be entirely up to you, most patients tend to ask the following:
- Are all our sessions confidential?
- Are there any circumstances in which you might need to break this confidentiality?
- How long have you been a mental health counselor?
- Are you experienced with the particular type of mental health problems that I am experiencing?
- What should I expect after our first few sessions?
When your session time is up, your therapist will gently invite you to collect your thoughts and head home. Likely, you are going to see them again the following week.
Ready to Find a Great Mental Health Counselor for You in Geneva?
If you are looking for an excellent mental health counselor, then contact our team at the Braden Counseling Center today.