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What to Expect at a Therapy Appointment: 10 Things to Know Ahead of Time

Going to counseling or therapy (for the most part these are used interchangeably) can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been before. Many people want help and know talking to a professional would be beneficial, but the fear of the unknown holds them back. Well I’m here to spoil the mystery. I always feel better in a new situation if I have an idea of what to expect. Spoiler Alert!

1. The therapist is going to like you no matter what. We are just those kind of people. If we weren’t, we’d be working at Hobby Lobby. (I don’t know why I think people who work at Hobby Lobby are grumpy, but it was the first place that popped into my head.)

2. We expect you to be uncomfortable the first time and will do our best to put you at ease. We don’t expect you to spill your guts in the first five minutes. The first session is all about getting to know each other and developing a sense of trust.

3. We won’t tell anyone what you tell us. Really. We don’t want to go to jail. We take this seriously.

4. What you tell us, probably won’t surprise us. On the other hand, just when I think I’ve heard it all, someone tells me they were abducted by an alien named Elvis. I made that up. I can’t tell you what people tell me (see number 3). Therapy is a safe place to say whatever you want to say without being hurt or judged. It helps to get it out.

5. It’s okay to cry here. We expect people to. Sometimes we even cry with you, because the things you’ve been through are really stinkin’ sad. You don’t have to lay down on the couch and tell us about your childhood. Though there is a couch, and you probably had a childhood, so it’s always an option.

6. If you don’t feel like you click with your therapist, there are other options. I know I’m not the right fit for everyone. I try and be funny, and sometimes if people say mean things about themselves, I throw stress balls at them. Not everyone thinks that’s funny, which is perfectly fine. I think it’s hilarious, and so do my clients.

7. You might feel better after one or two sessions, because getting that stuff off your chest can be a huge relief, BUT you should keep coming. Two sessions usually aren’t enough to deal with the underlying issues that led to the bad feelings in the first place.

8. The first session there will be paperwork to do. Someone will greet you with a pen and a clip board. After you fill out the paperwork, the therapist will go over a few things with you and help you feel more comfortable. The therapist will let you know about their style and what they will and will not do as your counselor. Then they will ask you questions about why you came, your medical history, past trauma, and what you hope to get out of counseling. You don’t have to tell them EVERYTHING this first session. Share enough to give them a general idea.

9. If you talk about really heavy stuff, you may feel extra emotional after the session. Brene Brown calls this Vulnerability Fatigue. Give yourself some extra time to relax or listen to music. Don’t plan a first date one hour after an intense therapy session. I may or may not know this from experience.

10. The session will last about 50 minutes. We aren’t trying to be rude and cut you off, but a lot of times there is another person coming in 10 minutes, and we need to pee.

Did I convince you? If so, and you’re in the Tulsa area, contact us 918-205-4148 to schedule a time to come in and try it!

For those of you who have been to therapy before, what else do you wish you had known ahead of time to make you feel more at ease?

And so you know what to expect visually at Resolve, here’s some pics of our office space by Evie S.