Therapy 101: Tips and Information About Your First Therapy Session

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Health & Wellness

Therapy is a private, safe, and confidential place to talk about what is really happening with you or with someone you care about. It’s your time to focus on your feelings or problems that are private and personal. It’s your space to work through that issue you cannot tell the people in your life. In therapy, you share issues friends and family are tired of hearing about and cannot seem to help you with. Everything you discuss in therapy is confidential and stays between you and the therapist. Read on for tips for your first therapy session.

Psychologists help people with a wide array of issues such as treating anxiety, grief, and depression. They are also trained in helping people develop new perspectives, healthier relationships, and coping mechanisms. 

When you are in therapy, you are not alone. You have a professional to help you get through a challenging time. A good fit between therapist and client is the key to successful therapy. You want to find a therapist that you feel understands you. Someone that you can be yourself with who has the knowledge and skills to help you with whatever you are facing. 

How do I find the right fit? I recommend looking at several therapist’s websites and bios. See if they are a credentialed and licensed therapist then make sure that they are experts in what you want to work on. 

Ask yourself if you want to see a man or a woman. There is no right or wrong answer, just trust your inclination. Call a couple of therapists and see how you feel on the call. Different therapists have different personalities and styles. Find the one that you feel most comfortable with. The person that you felt you developed a good rapport with during your first conversation. 

I know, it takes courage to make the first call. It takes courage to be honest with yourself, to trust someone, and to make a change in your life. But finding peace, resolution, and relief makes it all worth it. Tips for your first therapy session, such as those in this post, can often help you feel more comfortable about beginning therapy.

I am often asked what the experience of therapy is like. Honestly, I think that it is a very personal and different experience for everyone. The first session will give you a lot of information. This is a time for you to sit with the therapist and get a sense of what working together would be like.

Therapy is a collaborative effort. The therapist is an expert in therapy just as the client is the expert in their own life. Together, we meet in the middle to create solutions. Psychologists diagnose, decide what type of treatment to use (and when), and untangle the issues. They provide tools to overcome a challenging time. The client brings in their feelings, what they want to work on, and their relationship history as well as their unique life experiences. Together, therapist and client define what it is that they are working on. They work together to create a treatment plan or a road map, so to speak, on how to get the desired outcome. 

A common stumbling block to starting therapy is the misconception that therapy will never end. Therapy is not forever. In fact, it is a process with clear goals and a mutually created plan. As a result, these factors help guide the decision for when treatment naturally ends. In therapy, you develop a therapist-client relationship that helps you heal in connection. It is certainly common to work with someone on an issue and achieve goals that allow you to end treatment. Years may pass and you may return for a few sessions to work on another altogether different issue. When you have a good connection with a therapist, it can be a wonderful life-long relationship where you work on things at different times in your life. 

Pass along this article if you know someone who could benefit from a better understanding of the process of therapy or may need tips on seeking a therapist. If you are experiencing challenges in your life and you think therapy is right for you, feel free to call (760) 930-0886 to set up an initial appointment with me, Rakefet Benderly PH.D, a Carlsbad therapist.


Dr. Benderly is a psychologist practicing in San Diego, CA. She provides psychotherapy services to residents of San Diego including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks, Oceanside, Vista, La Jolla, San Marcos, Escondido, and La jolla.

Dr. Benderly specializes in treating: Depression & AnxietyGrief & LossRelationshipsPremenstrual Dysphoric DisorderAssertiveness & Social SkillsStress Managementand more

Therapy offered in Hebrew and English.

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