Therapy research has demonstrated that the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important common factors making therapy effective. This finding is why it is so important to find a therapist that is a “good fit.” Finding someone who feels safe and supporting does not mean you will always feel comfortable or unchallenged in sessions – in fact therapy often may feel uncomfortable when it is working. But can you work with this therapist, “does he have the experience to understand me and my situation? Is he a collaborator? Can he provide the knowledge and expertise I need to grow and accomplish my goals for therapy?”
With this being said, I want to give you an idea about what the first session entails so you can accurately make this determination for yourself.
Prior to your first appointment, you can download the intake paperwork here. This preliminary paperwork is necessary to get things started. You can print out and complete the Client Intake Form, the Informed Consent, the Consent to Email to bring with you to our intake appointment if you choose, or you can arrive 20 minutes earlier than your appointment time and fill out the paperwork at the office waiting room. (Please notify me prior to your arrival so I can plan accordingly). Questions you have about this paperwork are good to bring up during our appointment. I will go over the forms briefly with you and will inevitably have some questions of my own. I will also go over some preliminary information, logistics, spend time getting to know you and want to know what brings you into therapy.
It is common and understandable that there is anxiety about coming to first appointments. Although I do as much as possible to reduce this anxiety and make the first appointment as safe and comfortable as possible, you should know that talking about what makes you uncomfortable and anxious is part of the work of psychotherapy. My hope is that we can tackle this work together and learn to trust it.