What happens during the first psychotherapy session?

People who have never attended psychotherapy wonder what will happen in the office: Will the psychotherapist ask a lot of questions about my feelings? Will he or she ask me to discuss my fears? Will I have to talk about my childhood? Etc…

In fact, the first few meetings serves to get to know each other, identify the problem and try to determine the goals client wants to achieve through psychotherapy. It is also the time when client may ask therapist for his or her experience, qualifications and work style.

Collecting information about client’s life, therapist begins to get an initial idea of client’s difficulties and expectations regarding therapy and possibility to work together. Therapist also encourages to focus on how the client feels during and after the session to make it clear that client’s well-being and comfort are important, because they contribute to positive outcome of the meeting and decision-making process for initiating psychotherapy.

Is psychotherapy for me?

Because of many misconceptions about psychotherapy, you may not want to try it on yourself. Even if you know facts instead of myths, you may feel anxious when you decide to take up your own psychotherapy. The simple answer is that every time you think your life is not what you would like it to be, psychotherapy can help.

If you have doubts whether to start psychotherapy click on the link below for more encouragement.


Is psychotherapy and psychological counseling are the same?

The terms “psychotherapy” and “counseling” are often used interchangeably and although they partially overlap, there are important differences between them, which may prove important when choosing the most appropriate form of help. Psychological counseling is a one-off conversation or a series of conversations between a specialist and a client. Counseling usually focuses on a specific problem and takes specific steps to find a solution. The discussed issues relate to the current client’s situation. The conversation does not pay much attention to the importance of past experiences.

Psychotherapy, like counseling, is based on the relationship between a therapist and a client, but its duration is often longer than that of counseling. Some clients attend therapy for several years. Instead of narrowing attention to specific problems, psychotherapy seeks to discover general patterns that drive client’s behavior and way of thinking, sources of chronic emotional problems and repetitive feelings. It requires openness to discover the past and its impact on the present. The purpose of psychotherapy is to solve the issues that underlie current complaints and difficulties. Psychotherapist helps to understand past experiences, that enables to builds the ground for developing a satisfying future.

When is the right time to start psychotherapy?

Many people ruminate about visiting a psychotherapist for a very long time. The decision to meet a specialist is often accompanied by a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety and other, usually negative feelings. We ask ourselves, “Is therapy for me?” And we compare our own problems and challenges to those which led other people we know to start therapy. Such a state causes us to lose time and energy that we could use for our own benefit. As a consequence our psychological problems drag on much longer than necessary.

It is difficult to pinpoint the right moment to start therapy, as this is a personal decision. There are, however, a number of reasons why it is not advisable to delay your visit:

  • You are in a state of constant overload
  • You make bad decisions for yourself
  • You have a need to be heard and there is no person in your environment who can do it
  • You suspect that your relationships with other people could be much better
  • You are tired of playing the role of a strong hero who can handle everything
  • You tend to be depressed
  • You assume that your self-esteem is not quite adequate
  • You have difficulty holding on to your emotions
  • You are experiencing the frustration associated with lack of satisfaction from life
  • You feel that no one understands you

And much more … If your intuition tells you that something in your life does not work out as you would like, then it is a good reason to meet and talk about your problems.

How often do sessions take place?

Sessions of individual psychotherapy or couples therapy are usually held once a week at the agreed time. Family therapy usually takes place every 2 weeks. The consistency and regularity of the meetings are important elements that influence the quality of work and the therapeutic relationship that has a real impact on the progress achieved through psychotherapy. The session frequency can be adjusted depending on the client’s needs and the psychotherapist’s assessment.

What psychotherapist to choose?

Doubts about a choice of psychotherapist appear often before making a decision about therapy and are a natural phenomenon. Choosing a therapist is important because most research into the effectiveness of psychotherapy indicates that the match between client and therapist is a very important predictor of therapy success. It is important to feel safe and comfortable in a relationship with a therapist. Different people may be guided by different criteria for choosing a psychotherapist such as age, sex or reputation. It is worth the time to reflect on your own expectations and preferences in this regard. Sometimes a therapist gender may be important in making decisions and in the initial phase of therapy, especially if the topics that will be discussed during treatment concern sexual identity, sexuality, or sexual orientation. However, as therapy progresses, it may turn out that the criteria for choosing a therapist are less important for successful therapy than it could initially be. A good therapist can reach a person, build mutual understanding and skillfully manage the therapy so that the client accomplishes the intended goals. In psychotherapy and therapeutic relationship, the client’s comfort and sense of interaction with the psychotherapist play a key role.

How long will the therapy last?

This is a question with no simple answer. The length of the psychotherapy may vary depending on the client’s needs. Some people come for therapy looking for practical solutions for specific problems. For such clients, targeted short-term therapy may be the best kind of support. It usually takes between 6 and 10 sessions.

Other people want to address issues that are deeply ingrained in their personality. This type of therapy presupposes a long-term contact that can last for months or even years.