Heading to Therapy for the First Time? Commonly Asked Questions Answered
Maybe your marriage isn’t quite where you feel like it should be. Perhaps you are struggling with a new transition in your life. Or it could be that you are dealing with depression or anxiety.
Regardless of the specifics, counseling can beneficial for a number of things you are going through. You will be more at ease coming in for the first time if you know what to expect.
Here are 5 commonly asked questions for people coming in for their first session at Positive Outlook Counseling and the answers:
1. Do you take my insurance and if not, how much is it?
- This question is easily the most asked. At Positive Outlook Counseling, we have decided to be an out-of-network provider, in order for you to remain in control of your wellness process and to keep your confidentiality safe. All insurance companies require a diagnosis (this becomes part of your PERMANENT health record and can hinder you getting employment or health insurance or any government job) and may limit your therapy to a certain time period or amount of sessions. We feel that you are unique and don’t feel that everyone needs a diagnosis that will be placed in your permanent medical records.
- As for how much it is, per session, it ranges based on therapist. Each therapist is unique in their style and how they run therapy. For our therapists, the rates range from $90-$175 per session. We have both interns and fully licensed therapists at our practice.
2. What are the therapists’ availabilities and their specialties?
- The therapists make their own schedules here, therefore each therapist’s schedule is different. None of our therapists work on the weekends, so keep that in mind when trying to schedule. The best way to find out the therapist’s schedule is to pick one and either call for their availability or check online. The receptionist at the front desk can also match you up with someone if that is easier for you!
- Each therapist’s specialties can be found on our website, under About Us. You will see each therapist and their specialty. You can also click the therapist’s name and read a bio they have written to get a better feel for their style of therapy and if you are a good match!
3. Now I have an appointment, do I need to do anything before I come in? What about when I come in?
- Yes! To save time once you get here, we ask all clients to create an online profile through the therapy appointment system. You will also receive a welcome letter email with instructions on how to create your profile. This online profile will let you schedule your appointment online and allows you to write your own bio! The bio allows the therapist to get a better idea for what is bringing you in and how best to help you.
- Once you get here, you will need to fill out consent forms and pay. Never hesitate to ask questions while you are filling this out if you have any!
4. What do I expect during the first session? How long does a session last? What do we talk about?
- Each therapist is a bit unique in how they run their first session, but ultimately, they want to get to know you and what is bringing you in. Many therapists will want to know what has prompted you to seek out therapy, your personal history, current situation, and current symptoms.
- Sessions are a “therapeutic hour” meaning they last 45-50 minutes.
- Therapy is usually seen as a team effort, try to be prepared to talk about what is going on.
- A couple of tips for what you could be doing with your therapist to make the most out of your session:
- Be open: we are trained to ask the right questions, but we can only work with what you are willing to provide, and it helps us if you can be open and honest.
- Be prepared: before you come in, try to think about what the issue is and how to describe it. Some people write it down, make lists, etc.
- Ask questions: the more you understand the counseling experience, the more you can get out of it and the more comfortable you will be. If you are confused at any point or would like to know more about something your therapist says, ask!
- Remember that therapy is a process and not an overnight, “quick fix”. It takes work from you and your therapist.
5. Well, my session is over, now what?
- First things first, try to set up your next appointment before you leave the office. Your therapist can do this with you or the receptionist at the front. This can help you to keep up with your appointments and makes it easier not to forget to make your appointments on your own. If you are more comfortable making your own appointments online, or calling in later to make one, that is perfectly okay too!
- It is normal to feel bad or possibly worse after your first session with your new therapist. It can be a sign of progress. You tend to be expressing a lot of negative emotions and delving deeper into painful memories. Exploring these can be overwhelming. The good news is, this feeling doesn’t last forever! It is just the beginning of your journey to being a healthier version of you.