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How to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session

Therapy can help you navigate through several situations, issues, and forms of illness. You may want to discuss the reasons for your sadness or perhaps you need help with postpartum depression. Or, you may need assistance with an anxiety disorder. Whatever your issues are, therapy can help you process a range of complex feelings. Deciding to visit a therapist is an excellent first step. However, if you’ve never been to therapy before, you’re probably extremely nervous.

Did you pick the right specialist? Will you be able to talk about everything that’s bothering you in the limited time you have? What if the person you choose doesn’t know how to handle your specific illnesses and issues? If you don’t know what to expect, it’s good to do a little pre-session prepping. Also, remember to relax before your first session. Therapy can be draining, so you will want to save your emotional energy for the appointment. To avoid anxiety and prepare for your appointment at the same time, here’s what to do.

Find the right therapist.

Not all therapists are equal. So, you have to find a specialist that is the right fit for you. You may want to consider the issues you have and the type of therapy you need. Do you have an anxiety disorder or a perinatal mood disorder? Or do you need to find someone who specializes in life transitions and family therapy?

For specific issues (like a traumatic stress disorder), your therapist may look for triggers before determining treatment. Some behavior and mood issues may require cognitive behavioral therapy. Remember to research all your therapy options to find the best one for your needs. It’s not easy to find the perfect match, but several services can help you out. For example, you can search for mental health providers online. Pick a reputable platform like to find a personalized match. WithTherapy also has specialists who can provide support for emergency mental health issues.

Ask your insurance company if your health plan includes any experts, and then research them. Check whether you can get a free consultation before your first official session. Ask about things like the refund amount you’re eligible for if treatment doesn’t work out. Also, research the therapist you pick to see what experiences other people have had with them.

Prepare your wardrobe.


You don’t have to dress to impress a mental health provider. However, your wardrobe choices can affect how you feel. The good news is that the right outfit can increase your confidence. And it can make you feel less nervous. Like it would for a job interview, dressing up can also ease anxiety about your first therapy session.

Instead of worrying about how your session will go, put your outfit together. A formal skirt (like a pencil skirt) paired with a shirt can make you feel more confident that casual denim. Pick something simple like a black pencil skirt to help prepare for your appointment. If you’re dressed your best, you’ll feel your best going into a vulnerable position like a therapy appointment.

Consider your issues.

You don’t have to prepare a list of talking points before your session. However, it’s a good idea to consider your issues before your first session. Focus on the range of thoughts that led you to take this step. If you have a mental illness, think of the unhealthy ways it has affected your life and how you can talk about them.

If you need help to face a traumatic event, prepare yourself emotionally. You may have to sharpen your communication skills, but a good psychologist will help you out here. They will also help you work through complex feelings. It may not be easy to start the process with an open, honest conversation. If you accept that you may not feel amazing after one session, it will be easier to begin your healing journey.

Listen to your gut.


Even if you’ve spent time on research, your first session may seem disappointing. It’s crucial to acknowledge the signs of a lousy doctor. Before your session, think about the things that would be deal-breakers for you. Don’t think of your specialist as the absolute authority on everything. After all, it is your life!

If you feel uncomfortable, get bad vibes, or don’t think it’s working for you at the present moment, don’t force it. It’s better to wait for the right therapist instead of settling for therapy that may limit or damage any progress you’re making.

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