So you’ve made the very courageous decision to book in for a first appointment with a psychologist or mental health professional, Well done! This is often the hardest step!
In this article, I’ll walk you through the various stages of the journey so you have a better idea of what to expect.
Matching you with the right psychologist
If you haven’t already provided brief information about what you’re hoping to seek assistance for, then our admininstration team may contact you to seek some information, just to try to ensure you’ve booked in with the practitioner who is best suited to your needs.
You’ll also be asked to complete a new client form, so that we can obtain some additional information to assist us with your first appointment.
Arriving for your first psychology appointment
Sometimes you might find that you feel nervous or anxious in the lead up to your first appointment due to not knowing what to expect, worrying about what to say, feeling like your symptoms and concerns have eased and are unsure if you really still need the appointment etc.
As trained mental health professionals, we understand how daunting it can feel to seek out and engage in therapy.
Because of this, at Attuned Psychology we will always try to do our best to make you feel comfortable and at ease each time you enter the room.
We will often take the reins in your first appointment initially, by asking you questions so that we can ascertain how we may best be able to help you. This helps us to know how we should guide your future appointments, but it’s important to remember that there are a number of ways that people can engage in therapy, and there is no right or wrong way.
Do you want to go broad or go narrow, reflect or discuss?
It’s ok if you would like your sessions to focus on debriefing about your past month, and to have a safe space to talk through these issues.
Life can be stressful, and often these stressors can be eased when we discuss these with a trusted professional and can hear alternative options for working through the problem.
If you would prefer to work through a specific issue, then let us know and we can talk to you about the best therapy options to work through that particular concern and what you can expect with particular therapeutic approaches.
In taking this particular approach, it means that your therapist will start to think ahead for each session and plan what they can cover in upcoming appointments.
So please don’t feel pressured to need to have something to discuss every session, as your therapist will already be aware of your therapy goals from earlier conversations.
Are you feeling off? That’s okay!
If you just don’t feel good within yourself, and you’re unable to pinpoint what the particular concern is, this is also ok!
This can be really common, and in time, we can usually get to the bottom of what it is that’s causing you to feel uneasy and talk you through how we can address it.
It’s a bit like when you experience a new medical symptom. You’re not expected to know what’s causing it, this is why you go and visit your GP and then you work it out together.
Therapy isn’t just for when we’re feeling terrible
Another key thing to remember is that if you’re feeling better, this isn’t always the best indicator that you should cancel that first appointment that you spent so long deliberating on whether you should even book.
This is especially true if you notice that you fluctuate between feeling good within yourself, but then have periods of time where you feel low in your mood, experience heightened anxiety or intense distress.
Even if your symptoms improve, a mental health professional can help you to identify the triggers of these episodic changes and work with you to ensure your mental health remains stable for longer.
Therapy isn’t just for when we’re feeling terrible, it can actually be more helpful to engage with a mental health professional when we’re clear headed, because we have much better insight into our patterns.
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