You’ve scheduled your first therapy appointment. Now what? The thought of being vulnerable with someone you’ve never met before can be scary, but the first step is always the hardest. You’ve had the courage to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional, so pat yourself on the back! First therapy sessions are usually used as an intake session for your therapist to get to know you and get an idea of why you’ve sought out therapy. Equipping yourself with what to expect can be helpful for calming your nerves and saving you time. Before stepping into your session, here are three ways to prepare for your first therapy appointment.
- Make a medication list
Medications can affect your mental health in ways you’d never expect, so bring a list of your current (and past) medications, including the name, dosage, and frequency. This list will save you time from scrambling to remember your medication doses, and it will give your therapist a better idea of your medical background and how to evaluate you.
- Have a brainstorm session beforehand
Before meeting with your therapist, take some time to think about what you’re hoping to gain from therapy, any goals you have in mind, main topics you want to make sure you cover throughout your sessions, mental health symptoms you may be experiencing, or just some basic background info to talk about. This will ensure that you go into your appointment with a plan and expectations for your new therapist. It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated journal to jot down notes before, during, or after your session!
- Make time to decompress afterwards
Therapy can be exhausting and overwhelming. It may make you nervous, which brings physical and mental symptoms of their own. Talking about yourself, your medical history, and your trauma can be draining and even triggering, which can wear you out emotionally. Have a snack, take a nap, read a book, or do something you love to help recharge after your session. It’s important to carve out this time to rest and practice self-care, in order to support good mental health and continue in your recovery journey. Your body and brain will thank you.
Remember, it’s normal to be nervous before your first therapy appointment, but you’ve been extremely brave by scheduling it in the first place! Take a deep breath and start your session confident that this is the first step in your journey to better mental wellbeing.
We offer Behavioral Health services for all patients of all ages at Avance Care. All services are designed to assist people in making the changes they want in their lives. Learn more about our behavioral health services and our team at our FAQ page here.