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Getting Ready for Your First Therapy Session: A Guide for New Clients




Embarking on your first therapy session can feel daunting, whether in person or via telehealth. Here are some tips to help you prepare for this important step towards mental wellness:

1. Reflect on Your Goals:

Take some time to reflect on what you hope to achieve through therapy. Whether it's managing stress, improving relationships, or addressing specific mental health concerns, having a clear understanding of your goals will help guide your therapy journey.


2. Choose a Comfortable Environment/ Vet Your Therapist:

For in-person sessions, select a therapy location where you feel safe and comfortable. This might be a therapist's office or a private space where you can openly express yourself. Similarly, for telehealth sessions, find a quiet, private area with minimal distractions to ensure a focused and confidential session.

Be sure to search reputable counselor directories such as Psychology Today, Therapy For Black Girls, Therapy for Black Men, Pink Therapy (LGBTQ+ Allied) and Headspace. Asking a friend or family members is also a great way to find amazing counselors. Explore counselors who specialize in the form of therapy you are interested in participating and has some experience in working with similar clients who are experiencing similar to you. Finding a Therapist is similar to dating and you want to share your intimate thoughts, feelings and behaviors with someone you feel comfortable with. If one counselor does not work for you, try another one and do not feel conflicted about doing so!


3. Familiarize Yourself with the Technology:

If you're opting for telehealth sessions, familiarize yourself with the technology beforehand. Ensure you have a stable internet connection, test your video and audio settings, and familiarize yourself with the telehealth platform your therapist will be using. This will help minimize any technical glitches during your session.


4. Prepare Questions and Topics:

Before your session, jot down any questions or topics you'd like to discuss with your therapist. This could include specific challenges you're facing, thoughts or feelings you've been experiencing, or any concerns you have about starting therapy. Having these prepared will help you make the most of your time with your therapist.


5. Be Open and Honest:

Remember that therapy is a safe and judgment-free space. Be open and honest with your therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Your therapist is there to support you and help you navigate through difficult emotions or situations.


6. Manage Expectations:

Understand that therapy is a process, and progress may take time. Be patient with yourself and with the therapeutic process. It's normal to feel a range of emotions during therapy, including discomfort or vulnerability. Trust in the process and know that your therapist is there to support you every step of the way.


7. Practice Self-Care Afterwards:

After your therapy session, prioritize self-care activities that help you process and reflect on your session. This could include journaling, meditation, spending time outdoors, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Starting therapy can be a transformative and empowering journey towards mental well-being. By preparing yourself mentally, emotionally, and practically, you can make the most of your first therapy session and set yourself on a path towards growth and healing.


You Got this! I know counseling can be a scary journey but it is absolutely worth it! Prioritize your mental health and take the first step towards healing.


Written by Sharika Pruitt, LPCS, NCC Executive Clinical Director and CEO of Crossroads to Pathways Counseling




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