What to Expect at the First Therapy Session
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Therapy is a process. As with anything that contributes to the development of new perspectives in life, therapy takes time and personal effort. To achieve significant changes and see their benefits, we need to put in effort and dedication.
Therapy is very similar to learning a new language, one of relating to ourselves and others in a new way. It’s a language of self-trust, self-compassion, self-awareness and self-understanding. In order to communicate our understanding and empathy with others, we need to learn how to do it first with ourselves.
Therapy helps to develop new mental capacities, build resources and internal strength to be able to sustain the challenges that the practice of a new set of skills brings with it. Most of us know that the best way to learn a new language is to practise it with a native speaker who is objective, neutral, has abilities and the desire to give. Therapy is a very similar process. Most therapists have gone through that process and have developed the capacity and patience to help others. They understand this process of change and make it as gentle and as natural as possible.
If you have decided to step onto the path of therapy, in the first session you will meet with the therapist and test whether this person is a right fit for you. The therapist is not a teacher or a tutor who will tell you what to do. The therapist is more like a companion and a guide on your internal journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
Choosing a therapist is akin to choosing an ally on your travel to a remote destination with a somewhat unknown outcome. Your ally speaks the language of that remote settlement and has the map but doesn’t know the territory. The territory is your background, your culture, your history, your life and your commitment to discovering your inner self-worth. The purpose of having a companion on the journey is to have someone who can protect and support you while you go through difficult passages along the way of revealing new ways of being.
The first session is really a first step in deciding whether your therapist is the person you will be comfortable with on that extended journey which will be full of unexpected pitfalls, insights and linked bridges. As all journeys have an end, hopefully yours will be one worth taking, and persevering with to the very end. And that will be a place where you finally find yourself and a sense of peace in being simply who you are.