ABCs of Mental Health Care
print Your First Session
Are you, or a loved one, about to go to a
counselor for the first time? Whatever your reason for seeking help,
you will be more at ease and get better results if you know what to
In your first session, the therapist typically will ask certain questions about you and your life. This information helps him make an initial assessment of your situation. Questions he might ask include:
The therapist will use this information to better understand your problem. And, while he may make a diagnosis at the end of your first visit, it's more likely that a diagnosis will take a few more sessions.
Don't just sit there
Therapy is a team effort. If you don't take an active part in the session, you won't find the counseling experience valuable. Here are some things you can do to make your first session as successful as possible.
Be sure to go to your first session with realistic expectations. Therapy is not a quick fix for your problem, rather it is a process. With some effort on your part and a strong relationship with your therapist, it can be a successful tool toward resolving problems.
"The Consumer's Guide to Psychotherapy: The Authoritative Guide for Making Choices About All Types of Psychotherapy," by J. Engler and D. Goleman, Simon and Schuster, 1992.
"Making Therapy Work: Your Guide to Choosing, Using, and Ending Therapy," by F. Bruckner-Gordon, B. K. Gangi and G. U. Wallman, Harper and Row, 1988.
"The Process of Counseling and Therapy," by Janet Moursund, Prentice Hall, 1985.
"The Therapy Answer Book: Getting the Most Out of Counseling," by Kathleen J. Papatola, Fairview Press, 1997.
By James Rea