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What should I expect at the first meeting with a psychotherapist?

Like most firsts, even pleasant ones, a first meeting with a psychologist or psychotherapist can bring up feelings of anxiety, insecurity and fear. I still remember the first time I stepped into the world of psychotherapy, it was so uncomfortable and kind of weird, but I felt my need extremely strongly. I am very grateful to myself that I followed my need and myself then….

What is done at the first meeting with a therapist or psychologist?

My surprising answer is that there is no “should” in therapy. There is no list to go by and sit down as doing one, two three. Carry yourself, that’s enough! The first meeting is exploratory, it’s like the handshake contact between client and therapist. You may already know something about me, or you may not – we’re getting acquainted, in the volume required at the time. As an exploratory encounter we go through more “trivial” things, usually they are more secure ground and necessary as a condition for building the contact.

Often when I tell people I know what I do, the first reaction is a slight retreat and a remark in a different variation, but with the meaning of “Very interesting and now you must have understood my problems and analyzed me”. There are a lot of clichés associated with psychotherapy and psychology. Yes, they are about exploring human behavior, discovering patterns and patterns, but they don’t “read minds” and they don’t “guess your conscious desires.” Psychotherapy is a process in which you have a part, a role and the power to guide in the direction you need.

What to expect at a first meeting with a therapist?

A 50-60 minute conversation where you can be heard, seen and listened to without judgement and criticism and that is part of creating a safe space. “I can be the way I am and I don’t have to worry about Mom, Dad, my brother, my husband, my kids or how I look to others- this is my me time!”

Another part of the clichés is related to stigmatization – “If you go to therapy then you are crazy, something is wrong with you”, “I don’t need someone to solve my problems”. Psychotherapy is not concerned with treating psychological disorders, but rather providing support in the client’s psychological distress and struggle with their reality. So if you have decided to start therapy – congratulations! The process is not always easy or pleasant, but it is an exciting re-creation!

The first meeting between client and therapist is a unique experience of contact between them – “You cannot enter the same river twice” (Heraclitus of Ephesus).