Step 2: What To Expect On Your First Appointment

“On your way to your first appointment you will find this voice in your head springing up and telling you to trace your steps back home. You’ll find yourself doubting your decision and questioning whether you really need this. The wise thing to do at this point is to drown the voice out and take yourself to the place you’ll find help.

When in the first few minutes of meeting you your therapist asks you how they can help, you may feel a tinge of confusion. Where do you even begin? If you can give your troubles a face – a day, and incident, a person – that’s a good place to start. If not, let your therapist know what brought you to them. Let them know the way you’ve been feeling and the things you are or are not doing. Rest assured, they’ll guide you from there. Allow them to lead you through the conversation. Be open. Be trusting. You’ll find its cathartic to talk about things you haven’t thought of in a while. You’ll find the clarity refreshing. You’ll be amazed at how they make you realise seemingly little things, even from years ago, have a hand in bringing you to this moment. How the things you thought you had dealt with are probably still bothering you. How you told yourself that some things were okay but they weren’t. It’s important to be honest with your therapist, even when the questions they ask you include details from memories your mind has boxed up and long forgotten. Especially if they’re things you’ve never allowed yourself to say out loud. It isn’t easy to sit across the table from a stranger and let them hear things you’d rather not think about. Remember that this person wants to help. There is no judgement here.

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The first session of therapy can be quite overwhelming. In hindsight, you may remember things you should have told your doctor, or things you didn’t remember then. The only thing that matters though, is taking the first step. After your first appointment, you will have plenty of chances to go back to what you left out. You must remember to be patient and give yourself time. After all, you are a cumulative product of several years of your life, so you cannot expect to be fixed in a single session.

At the end of your session, your therapist may make a diagnosis. Depending on your condition and background, you may be prescribed medication. A lot of stigma and false information exists in society about medication for mental health. It is important to leave your reservations about them behind. Speak to your therapist about your concerns, if you have any, and let them reassure you. Look at mental illness as any other ailment – most chronic illness requires medication, and you shouldn’t treat this any differently. Depending on your diagnosis, you may need to see both, a psychologist for behavioral therapy and a psychiatrist for medication. It is important that you work with them together. Follow their instructions carefully and do the activities asked of you in between sessions. Often, medication takes up to two weeks to manifest any effects, so be sure to follow the routine set up for you closely and not lose hope.

You’ve crossed the biggest hurdle on your road to recovery. Everything else falls in order. It is common, and very normal, to doubt yourself in the process, but don’t let that get in the way. Be proud of yourself for taking the first step. Reach out to your loved ones and let them know that finally, you’re taking care of yourself. Relief is just a few steps away.

-P

How do you know you’ll need to see a Therapist?
Read: It’s Time To See A Therapist

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