Individuals who have never attended a psychotherapy session are unsure what to expect. There is no way to tell if the therapist will ask about their feelings or past or if they will be asked about their fears.

The truth is that each therapist uniquely approaches their first therapy session—with consideration to the presenting symptoms of the patient. We talk about realistic expectations for your psychiatric sessions below.

1. Waiting At The Reception Area

The first few minutes of your visit to a psychiatrist's office will be similar to any other healthcare appointment. After checking in with a receptionist, you will be asked to fill out forms and wait to be called.

2. Meeting Your Therapist

During your initial appointment, you and your psychiatrist will get to know each other. You won't be expected to expose your deepest fears, traumas, and secrets right away. Instead, you will be encouraged to talk about any information about yourself, such as your hobbies or what you do for work. You can also ask your psychiatrist about their credentials or interests. 

3. Talking About Your Condition

Your psychiatrist will want to know what led you to seek mental health treatment. They will discuss what you've written in the forms and your reported signs and symptoms. You'll have to tell them what measures or therapies you've tried before so they can determine whether they were successful or not. This will start the process of creating your treatment plan which you will be prescribed within a few more sessions.

4. Getting To Know Your Condition More Through Questions

Following the introduction to your condition, your psychiatrist will ask questions to get more details. The questions may go as follows:

  • How is life at home?
  • How is life in school or work?
  • What do you want to get out of our sessions?
  • Have you ever thought of self-harm?
  • Who among the people around do you consider your most trusted person?

The questions asked during sessions are not only one-sided. You can also ask your psychiatrists:

  • How should I prepare myself for our sessions?
  • How in-depth is your experience with depression patients?
  • Have you ever been to psychotherapy yourself?
  • When would you have to break confidentiality?
  • Are all of our topics during sessions confidential?

How To Prepare For Your Psychiatric Sessions

  • Take it easy and be kind to yourself. Therapy will dive into deep-seated fears and emotions.
  • Have a goal for each session. It doesn't have to be a huge decision. It can just be a small change about yourself.
  • Know that therapy takes time. You need to attend a number of it before you can feel like you're on track. The American Psychological Association reports that mental health conditions usually need 15 to 20 sessions.

Check-in with yourself after your first therapy session. Consider how you felt about it and your therapist. This will determine if the next session would be with the same one or if you need to find another who is more suitable for you. Again, one session will not provide a cure. Keep in mind that therapy is a process and it will take a number of sessions before you start to feel its benefits.
At Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health, we can help you through in-person and telepsychiatry sessions. Inquire at our practice today or visit our Luminello page.

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