June 20, 2019

Your First Therapy Session FAQ

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Going to therapy for the first time can be overwhelming. If you find yourself having specific questions that you cannot find the answers to, please do not hesitate to reach out to SonderMind or your therapist. We know we can’t completely take away the stress that accompanies the first therapy appointment, but we hope we can be a resource for you during your mental health journey.

Q: Do you have to lie on a couch like in the movies?

A: No, in fact, a lot of therapists don’t even have couches! Just comfy chairs.  

Q: Should I wear or bring anything specific?

A: No. Wear whatever makes you comfortable. Bring whatever you normally leave the house with. If your therapist is part of the SonderMind network, there won’t even be paperwork involved in your session. So in that case, all you need to bring is an open mind!

Q: What should I expect from my first session?

A: You might get emotional, and that’s okay. It’s okay to talk about things you might have been avoiding, frankly, that’s kind of the point. Whatever emotions come to the surface during your therapy sessions are completely valid, and chances are, your therapist has seen several other people who have had the same emotional reaction! No reaction you have will be judged or seen as weird.

Q: Can I bring a friend or family member with me if I’m nervous?

A: Yes, you can always bring someone for support if you feel it’s necessary. If you do plan on bringing someone with you, it’s always nice to let your therapist know in advance so they can prepare for the session appropriately. However, most therapists feel like the most productive sessions are those that are one-on-one, so just keep that in mind, and maybe make that a goal for the future.

Q: How long is long enough for a therapy session?

A: Most initial intake appointments are between 30 - 40 minutes long, and then you and your therapist can decide together on the length of future sessions. There is no “normal” amount of time for a therapy session, it’s just whatever you and your therapist feel is best. Some people suggest going to therapy on a day where you have a light workload. Having time before and after the therapy session to prepare and reflect can be beneficial.

Q: What type of questions will I be asked in the first session?

A: Most therapists will ask questions about your background and family history during the first appointment. They might also ask questions like, “What is a typical day like for you?” or “Tell me about how you grew up.” These questions just help them get to know you better before they dive deeper.  It’s important for a relationship to take shape before things get too serious.

Q: If my therapist starts taking notes, should I be worried?

A: Not at all! In fact, most therapists take notes. They’re trying to get to know you and wouldn’t possibly be able to remember all the details if they didn’t write them down. Although, some therapists will record the session to ensure they get all the information they need, but will give you the opportunity to object if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being recorded. Either way, note-taking is an invaluable resource to therapists and is in no way a bad sign when you’re at your first therapy session.

Q: Will there be homework?

A: That’s up to your individual therapist, but homework is definitely common. Nothing graded, don’t worry! Often it will be things like breathing exercises, journaling, or getting outside more, but will vary based on your specific circumstances.

Q: I really want to be on medication. Can I ask for that?

A: You can always bring up medication with your therapist. If that is a route you’re considering, your therapist will be able to determine if that’s a good treatment option for you. However, most therapists aren’t licensed to prescribe medications, but can connect you with someone who can.

If you have other questions about your first therapy session, let us know! You can call SonderMind at 844 THERAPY anytime between 7:00AM - 7:00PM MST Monday - Friday and we will get you the answers you need.

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