Setting up your first psychiatric appointment is a major step toward improving your mental health. To guide you with a therapeutic process and help you address your mental health concerns, you'll need the help of an experienced psychiatrist. Boston is home to numerous clinical psychology services to choose from.

Before you meet for your first session, it's good to set your expectations and learn more about the therapy process to help you get a gist of what your psychiatric sessions would be.

1. Expect a Long First Session

The first time you meet with your therapist, you'll typically need to get a lot of practical concerns out of the way, resulting in a session that's longer than usual.

Your first session will typically involve initial paperwork, which can take up some time and raise helpful questions about the trajectory of your treatment, along with your psychiatric and medical history.

You and your psychologist will also be meeting for the first time and determining whether or not you are a good match for therapy. It can take up to three meetings to determine whether or not you will work well together.

You can expect future sessions to be typically shorter because you have established your working relationship and determined how to proceed. You may also come to the next session with a few topics in mind!

2. Discuss a Treatment Plan

During your first counseling session, you'll be setting your goals for therapy and discussing your reasons for seeking therapy.

Before you arrive, you may want to write down some of your reasons for starting therapy, your concerns, and even the symptoms you are concerned about. When you meet with your therapist, you can get started discussing these things right away.

Your first visit isn't likely to result in a diagnosis. However, you can outline your main concerns and have a list of questions to ask about them.

3. What to Expect from Your Therapist

You may feel anxious about starting therapy, but you can keep these things in mind as you meet your therapist. Below are the qualities that are the hallmark of any skilled therapist.


Your therapist is handling confidential information about your thoughts, feelings, and personal life. That means your therapist's office should have a private area for therapy sessions and frank discussions about your symptoms and other sensitive information.

You should feel comfortable talking to your new therapist and trust that this person will be non-judgmental and instead focus on your mental health.


Your therapist will provide a professional, welcoming setting for your sessions. The first few sessions may be introductory, getting into the details of your mental illness and certain behaviors that you may want to change.

A therapist will be open to feedback on their methods, and you can let them know which techniques you find especially helpful or have found helpful in the past. If you are not compatible, it's better to know as soon as possible!

Therapists also maintain clear professional boundaries, keeping the focus on you and your feelings rather than talking about themselves.


Ultimately, your therapist is there to help you navigate your life and mental concerns with professional assistance. Therapists should offer a reliable and practical presence in your life.

Trust building will occur over time, but it should begin during your first appointment. Successful therapy depends upon a trusting relationship between yourself and your therapist.

4. What to Expect from Yourself

During your first therapy appointment, you may be surprised at the thoughts and feelings that may surface. The most important thing to remember is that this is a normal reaction when talking about your mental illness or mental health issues.

Emotional Reactions

When talking to your therapist and describing your personal history, some painful memories may surface. Your therapist can help you accept and navigate those feelings as they arise.

Getting through these emotions will ultimately lead to a healthier mental state and effective therapy.

Increased Self-Awareness

Working with a therapist to discuss your personal life, habits, and other concerns can increase your self-awareness. That can change the way you see yourself and think about your life.

Increased awareness can help your mental health and help you break free from unhealthy patterns in your life and interpersonal relationships.

5. Learn About Types of Therapy

There are several types of therapy catered to different mental health concerns. They work in various ways to change how patients think, feel, and manage relationships.

Dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many other options exist to cater to various mental health issues.

Dialectical behavioral therapy, for example, can help people in substance abuse recovery. It helps patients modify their behavior, deal with triggers, and avoid becoming overwhelmed with emotion.

A trauma psychiatrist has a deep understanding of traumatic events and how they affect the brain and body. Trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has lasting effects on your psychology and behavior.

A therapist may suggest a specific type of therapy that suits your needs or even take an integrative approach, which combines multiple types of therapy to fit your individual personality.

6. Don't Expect an Immediate Solution

Your therapist will help you embark on a new path toward a healthy mind and body with a gradual treatment plan. Don't expect a quick fix during your first appointment.

The number of sessions needed depends upon each patient. New patients may want to schedule weekly sessions. After a few months of treatment, most mental health professionals will decrease the frequency, assuming you are in a more stable state of mind.

Mental health therapy takes time, and it's often a years-long process. This shouldn't discourage you, as you can make strides even in your first month. A skilled therapist will work with you to improve your well-being over a long period of time.

Schedule Your First Therapy Session with Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health

Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health offers psychiatry practice that provides therapy for a wide range of mental health issues. We work with people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and other mental health issues.

We offer convenient telehealth meetings for our clients, making therapy sessions easier than ever to schedule and access. Set up a first therapy session with our licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Ronald Lee, contact us at Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health today!

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