What do you expect from the first psychology session?
Are you visiting a psychiatrist for the first time? Not sure what to expect? You’re not alone!
When you visit a doctor because you feel sick, says the flu, you know what to expect from your medical appointment, and you know that you will eventually feel better. But when you make an appointment to see a psychiatrist, do you know what will happen? You may be unsure of whether it will help you the way you hope it will help you. Many people do not know what to expect and are often a little worried about what lies ahead.
Feeling anxious at first is normal
It is normal to feel anxious when facing a new situation. Our brains are strongly attached to looking at the possible negative consequences of a new situation, as our brain tries to protect us from pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t always as useful as they are. Often times, our brain’s attempt to protect us from potential pain prevents us from being able to experience positive results that can easily come from the new situation.
A psychology session is basically about problem-solving
Our doctors use their training to help you solve the problem that drives you to see them.
In general, at the beginning of the first session, your doctor will invite you to share what is happening in your life, what bothers you, and what goals you want to work on together. Your doctor will listen, take notes, and ask questions. You will not be criticized, interrupted, or sentenced. You will be encouraged to speak completely honestly and openly, but you will not have to talk about things you do not want to talk about (yet or at all). All discussions are kept strictly confidential as psychologists are obligated to confidentiality (except where there are clear safety concerns).
Over the course of sessions, your doctor will help you practice tools that may better help you reach your goals, and some may give you some “homework” to complete between sessions. Doctors often take a different approach to meeting the needs of their clients, but their goal is to help find solutions to a problem that is bothering you at this time of your life.
How to approach your first session with a psychiatrist
Remind yourself that it is normal and okay to feel uncertainty or anxiety at first.
Feeling anxious is normal but should not drive your behavior. Remind yourself that you can survive in the first session and you can find that it begins a journey of growth that is of great benefit to you in the long run.
Be as honest as possible.
This is easier said than done when you talk to someone you just met but you are honest with the psychiatrist, and with yourself, from the start, it can be very helpful in building contact with the psychiatrist early and starting treatment where you are in your life at this time and what you want to get out From this process.
Keep your mind open to the positive outcomes that can come from this process.
Access to treatment has become more popular among the general population in recent years, and it has benefited many people who have requested this help. Try not to allow your mind to comment only on the discomfort that may occur from talking to a psychiatrist. Open your lens to look at the positive things you might encounter as a result of working during this process.
Evaluate yourself enough to keep track of your goals.
No matter what your mind may sometimes persuade you, you deserve a satisfying and healthy life. If there are challenges in your life that prevent you from moving forward the way you want, then you deserve time and space to work towards what you want and value.
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