What happens during a first therapy appointment? | Kati Morton

Hey everyone. Today I’m gonna talk with you about what to expect at your first therapy appointment. (Intro Music) So like I said, today I’m gonna talk with you about what to expect at your first therapy appointment. I know I did this video, not exactly the same as this, but kind of and I’m embarrassed by it. I’m so awkward. So I thought “I have a great idea. I’m gonna do it again.” So for those of you out there who I have probably commented and said “My best advice is for you to reach out to a therapist in your area.” And you think ehhhhh, I can’t. I’m so scared. I don’t know what they’re like. What is it gonna be like? And there are all these questions. Which makes sense. It’s very scary. It can be very overwhelming. We don’t know what to expect. So I have my notes. I’m going to tell you what to expect. Obviously every therapist is a little bit different, however these are things you can expect when making an appointment. First of all, 9 times out of 10 you’ll call us and you leave us a message. Because we’re usually seeing clients. We don’t pick up our phone all the time. So we’ll get back to you. Which for those of you who get scared to make phone to phone contact immediately, know that that’s not very likely to happen. So you leave us a message. You make an appointment. And we tell you usually to come about 10 minutes early, because there’s paperwork to fill out. Things like your name, your address, your insurance if they accept it, what are you coming in for, are you on any medications, when did you last see your doctor. Just like the basic stuff honestly that you get at any kind of doctors office, appointment, any of that. That’s what we do. You get a 50 minute hour. I know a lot of people don’t know that. That in order for us to see our clients we have to give ourselves like a 10 minute window of maybe we’ll run over, maybe I should probably take some notes about this, and then the next client comes in. So it’s 50 minutes for a session. And we usually ask you what brought you in today? What are some things that you’re struggling with? Have you been in therapy before? Tell me about your work or your school or your family or all of those things, depending on how much you’re willing to talk. We’ll keep asking questions, kind of just getting to know you. And some therapists take notes on a pad of paper that kind of looks like this, while they’re talking to you. Others don’t. I don’t really take notes. Although I’ll have a pad of paper on my lap in case something comes up. And I always tell people I can always share with you what I’m writing. But nobody ever really asks that, ’cause I don’t think people really want to know what you’re writing. But it doesn’t matter. You can ask. That’s okay. Then we’re like ‘Bye bye. Would you like to make an appointment for next week?’ Because we usually see you weekly. So that’s something to expect as well. And you have to pay when you’re there. Maybe that sounds crazy. But it’s just like anything. If you get a coffee, you’re not like, ‘Hey I’ll catch you next month.’ You pay when you leave. And so that’ll either be your co-pay if they take insurance, it’ll be through square, a check, cash. So make sure that you know how they accept payment. Ask them before your make your appointment, so you’re prepared for that as well. And if you need to ask for a sliding scale, do that before you come into session too so that we’re prepared. And I think that’s it. And I have a note all in bold, so I don’t forget, and I highlight it, because I love highlighters. And it says, “It’s never as scary as you think.” And that is the truth. Because therapists are people too. You may not necessarily like them, love them, wanna see them every week. You may wanna try another one out, but they’re usually friendly. They’re there to help, so if you’re considering it please call this week. That’s my challenge. Challenge! Call. See. Leave a message. They’ll get back to you. Make an appointment. Because I promise we’re friendly. We’re nice, and we’re here to help you. And know that you have the right to see somebody else and not see them again. And you’re not obligated in any way to make another appointment. You’re basically interviewing them at the same time that they’re interviewing you, to know more about you. You wanna make sure that you have that click with them, that I’ve talked about in previous videos. And how important that is. Because statistically we know it doesn’t matter how invested you are in therapy or how good your therapist is, it’s actually the relationship that is the best indicator of how well you’ll do. So make sure you have that. Make sure you like them. And make sure you feel that ‘click’. I hope you liked it. I know this video is like you know, kind of simple. But some of us get scared, and we don’t know what to expect. And so if any of you have made appointments, you’ve seen therapists, you’re seeing a therapist, let us know below. Because it’s not just me saying it then. It’s our community sharing our information. And if you like these simple what to expect videos, give it a thumbs up! And you can find me on the inter webs. Wherever you’re at I am there too. And see you next time. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 comments

  1. I am going to see a counselor next week so they can diagnose me. If I am diagnosed with something, I can see a person (therapist?) in January…

  2. Im actually incapable of talking about my emotions in my first language xD I just can't. I'm alright with doing it in English but German??? No thanks

  3. I want to go to one I told my parents that I may have depression am 12 they ignored me compeatly no one is helping me with my problems I help everyone it feels like everyone is using me for happiness even tho I don't have anymore happiness am so numb!!

  4. I could never see a therapist because I will not tell my parents anything and because I’d be too scared to answer any questions.

  5. I’m going to go to a school therapist tommorrow but I’m really scared because they give us a slot for all our classes but I have friend in many classes that I do not want to tell her I go to counselling although all of my other classes are really important I don’t want to fail them and also I don’t want some of my teachers to know some are fine I would trust but I would want to share that info with them – also doing this without my parents knowledge
    Thanks for listening to my ted talk and I don’t know what to do

  6. I went to my first therapy session a few weeks ago at my university and nearly went into an anxiety attack in the waiting room I was so scared, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made! My feelings and experiences were validated and I’m going to be starting regular therapy in the new year! If your scared, it’s normal. It took me 2 years to get the courage to go to therapy so I’m so glad I’ve started.

  7. My therapist is nice, but I'm sure secretly she thinks I'm a nutcase because I'm a stay at home mom and I've become so scattered and all over the place

  8. So.. I'm going to a therapist tomorrow. And um.. yeah. What is even my life. This is not even my account, it's my mom's. I need to go study.

  9. My mom is taking me to this. She told the Psychologist that i was having trouble and needed help. But like, i dont even need a therapist. I talk my stuff with my parents so idk whats wrong with her. Honestly one of the main reasons why she is taking me is because I have problems with my teeth and hair but, everyone has problems soo? I guess i can fix that with Braces and a haircut so overeacting?

  10. I have a question, How can I help my Severe Insomnia? I was on melatonin for about a Year, and I had to take more and more every few days in order to fall asleep, Because my Psychiatrist Recommended Melatonin For me but it never worked. Then I tried asking for Sedatives and she refused. So I turned to Maximum strength over the counter Sleeping pills, and it started with taking one, then more and more as months went on. Now I take smaller pills that aren't maximum strength, but are 25 mg each where as I took 50mg each. Now I have to take up to 5 or 6 pills just to make me Slighty sleepy and it's so difficult to sleep, and when I try to nap during the day I find I can't Because I have so much anxiety as I'm trying to Nap (In the day) and I want to find something that will ensure that I can sleep soundly, but also be less Habit forming, like having to regulary increase each dose every few days. I'm really Desperate to find a way out of my insomnia, and I've tried all the therapy and baths, and such and nothing works. Please answer this

  11. This is so helpful! I'm a licensed therapist and there is such a stigma against asking for help. We are healthcare providers because we see value in asking for help and want to help people. Therapy is for EVERYONE. Thanks for advocating for this, if you need help take that first step, it will be the best gift you ever give to yourself!

  12. Waiting for my insurance card 😞😞 I have been increasingly realizing how much I need to go to therapy past few weeks.
    Though I'm a bit intimidated by the thought of seeing a German therapist 😁😁

  13. Sometimes I think YouTube is the best therapy I can find as an introvert although I know it does nothing to alter my life

  14. I freaking love telling your parents that you need to talk to a therapist and they are like “your just overreacting” like great. Well maybe if my life wasn’t so screwed up I wouldn’t have to over react 😂😂😂😂

  15. What is an LMFT? Is that a thing? Does that exist in university? Psychologists, therapists, councillors and other quacks can not even tell the difference between the scientific method and their horoscope. If a “doctor” is not doing brain scans and looking at the organ they treat, they’re doing nothing but quackery.

  16. The day after tommorow I am gonna meet therapist ugh !!! I am not scared but I am not ready but in the mean time I need help

  17. My first session is tomorrow, thank you for putting this out there to know what to expect. I went to a hospital for stomach problems and had to have a wellness check, and that’s how my mom found out.

  18. Once I talked to a school counselor but they always jumped to conclusions and forced me to answer stuff and I couldn’t leave and stuff so now I’m scared I don’t like being controlled

  19. My first therapy appointment I just bawled my eyes out and told my therapist every thing I just needed someone to talk to

  20. I clicked on this video because i am starting therapy. It is a mandatory therapy session scheduled by CPS. It is free because i am covered by Medicare. I have no idea what to expect and i am really nervous about it

  21. i had my first appointment yesterday. basically all we did was go through my patient paperwork that i did before hand and i answered questions about my past experiences, how i feel etc. she was really nice and at the end she had enough information to diagnose me with clinical depression and GAD and prescribe me meds. it was about an hour and a half and $300

    edit: also wanted to mention this therapist is the same one that sees my sister. ive seen my sister flourish under her care so im glad i get to see her too

  22. I’m going to my first appointment today and I am extremely nervous about talking about myself and my personal issues because i’m use to keeping to myself but this video is definitely making me more relaxed and ready. so thank you!

  23. I think it all depends on which type of therapy and which issue is being addressed. That is apart from the standard intake form etc.

  24. Do you have any videos that also go into what therapy sessions should look like after the first visit? I feel like I have never had a 50 minute session like you mentioned in the video. With psychologists in my area this is always 20 minutes or less, in my experience. I'm not sure if that is normal or not? I have been told however that psychologist and therapist appointments look different in this way. I guess I'm just not really sure what I should be expecting.

  25. First therapy visit after two years of eating disorders, anxiety, and depression! Finally! Pray for me!

  26. Is becoming a therapist worth it ? I’m thinking of being one . I like to help people, hear people’s life stories . But I’m not sure it’s what I’m imagining .

  27. Haha I automatically imagined myself being unable to answer questions because of a stress like feeling in my abdomen, then crying, then asking the therapist not to get closer, then feeling bad about it, then being unable to apologise while staring at the floor paralyzed in a sitting fetal position.

    I can't go to a therapist, but it's okay because our bodies can't discern concentration of inert gases (like nitrogen) in blood.

  28. I went to my first therapy appointment today and it wasn’t that eventful my mom filled out paperwork then she stepped out and the therapist asked me some questions then had me take a depression and anxiety assessment test and scored severe in both categories so yup…..well it’s 2am so yesterday

  29. Today is my first appointment with a new therapist. It's been over a year since I was in therapy and I'm still nervous. I can't even afford my huge insurance copay so found a place that uses counseling interns that recently finished school and is substantially cheaper! Highly recommend! So, today is the day.

  30. I first started seeing a therapist about half a year ago. I had been putting it off for over two years, until I had a mental breakdown and left them a message after I’d drank two full bottles of wine in under an hour and was considering swallowing any pills I could find in the house.

    I was embarrassed as she called me the next day while I was driving. I rushed through the call and just said it was urgent. She booked me in the following week as soon as she could.

    I was incredibly nervous the first session. I sat upright and didn’t move at all. I cried from excessive anxiety and was writhing internally from a panic attack. I felt horrible and left after feeling embarrassed briefly.

    But she was calm, sympathised with me and gave me her full attention. She also didn’t pay too much credence to my crying, evidently aware I was embarrassed, and she gently moved onto the next subject.

    Essentially all it was, was finding out my past experience with psychology, what issues I wanted to address and why I was there; and if I had a plan for what I wanted to accomplish.

    And don’t worry about thinking of things to say! That freaked me out but the psychologists job is to keep the conversation going!!

    I had seen one therapist before for one session and knew they weren’t right – I was more uncomfortable by a reflection of our chemistry not just my own discomfort.

    This time I was uncomfortable, but I knew I clicked immediately with this one. I felt chemistry and felt she understood me even without elaborating.

    I’ve now been seeing her for a while and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I went initially for anxiety and depression as a result of that – I had panic attacks nearly every day, but now I haven’t had one for over two months, and I’m constantly trying new things.

    I’m lucky I found the perfect psychologist pretty quickly. But I can’t stress how important it is that you feel connected with them. They feel like a friend and you feel comforted by them – if you don’t our desire to get better is diminished.

    Good luck to everyone out there – only six months ago I was planning suicide. Today I’m planning a trip overseas with my sister for three months and moving internationally to study!

    I go through waves of happiness and sadness but each time is easier and easier and I bounce back faster. Keep at it, there’s no such thing as failure but only your resistance to getting back up again.

  31. My first visit, I did everything wrong. I was angry, scared, and you're not getting me, attitude.
    Now things are much better. I'm glad I went back.

  32. I’m going to therapy soon, but I think it will be hard for me to open up because I know there’s probably a lot of people with bigger problems then me that the therapist sees and I don’t wanna sound ungrateful or like I just want attention 🙁 I’m also scared of crying in front of people, and Im almost sure I will cry if I talk about the things I need to in order get better.

  33. My mom made me a therapist appointment because I want to kill myself and I hate myself but I am very scared because I hate talking to people. It also doesn’t help that the first time I told someone about how I felt my parents were busting open my door at 11:00 pm.

  34. I need to go to a therapist. I’m depressed, but my parents don’t believe me. I have panic attacks but they’re rare, and I also have anxiety because of school.

  35. I need a therapist but 1: I'm a kid and can't pay for therapy and 2: my parents don't think I need one because I pretend that I don't have panic attacks I pretend I don't have sever depression and moderate anxiety. And I don't know how to tell them that I need one

  36. I am trying to go to theropy but i am 16 and live with my mother and dont want her to ask me questionz

  37. I told my parents today. My moms going to get me Somone to talk too. It was so stressful and scary to do. But I hope it goes well when I do talk too Somone.

  38. I have my first therapy session in a couple days. I’ve been to therapy before a few times, but they were different types of therapy and different people, so I’m still nervous about it.

  39. I. Going to my first therapy this week, I'm know exactly what are my issues and I'm feeling like me about to implode, it's ok if I bring notes with me? I'm making a kind of time line and a list of concepts which suit me, it's to much?some one?

  40. Ive been avoiding going to therapy for years and today I am going to visit my campus counselor….. Im still scared and I still feel more comfortable not going but I know that Im going to keep repeating my bad habits and way of thinking without having someone to help me process everything that Im feeling….. Wish me luck!

  41. I'm leaving for my first appointment in a few minutes. I'm so nervous cuz I suck at talking to people I don't know. I hope my therapist is like her. She seems so easy to talk to

  42. My first therapy went like this:

    1. asked what problem I'm having
    2. asked about my family, work, etc
    3. diagnosed me with MDD and OCD
    4. wrote 2 tests – thyroid and hemoglobin
    6. gave me prodep 20
    7. asked to read about OCD on Wikipedia to gain a good knowledge of the problem
    8. asked to visit after 10 days

  43. i have an appointment tomorrow, and i'm beyond terrified of opening up. i've always tried to hide things from others to maintain my 'perfect' image (which i am completely aware is irrational and not fair to me or my close friends/family) i was diagnosed with generalized anxiety (and other things which aren't too bad but i will refrain from sharing) a long while ago, and i've been holding back because i'm absolutely against the thought of having to open up to someone. i know it's bad for me, but i can't help it.

    i just want everybody who is feeling somewhat ashamed or embarrassed of sharing things about themselves to know that it will be okay. you shouldn't keep your emotions in and beat yourself up because you're embarrassed. just know, there are people who go through the same thing as you (or relatively the same) and you are not in any circumstance alone. if you feel like it'll be a burden, it's understandable, but therapists are there to help you.

    whether it's your anxiety holding you back, another mental block/disorder, or just something as simple as nervousness, just know that it is completely valid to feel that way. you may not have to talk to people for a living, but they do and they are there to help get you through your struggles. just know you are loved and valid regardless of what you go through, and you are never and never will be alone.

    i get it may be pretty hypocritical of me to talk about opening up when i'm afraid to do so myself, but i'm working on it. i know that my happiness is something i deserve and i should focus on, and i know that talking about it with someone will help. i know this is kind of repetitive, and i've said this multiple times but i really want to get the point out there that you are not alone!

    sometimes talking it out, and even crying helps a lot. you are not weak because of it. you are not stupid because of it. you are human, and you deserve nothing more than complete happiness. i know that is a stretch, but it's true. in the moment, you may feel worthless and closed up, but talking it out helps and works wonders. trust me, you WILL be okay!

    [tl;dr- you are not alone, and your fears are valid. just be completely honest to yourself and others, because you deserve to be happy]

  44. my parents are forcing me to go to therapy because "I have an addiction to my phone" and my moms "worried about my mental health" when im really fine lmao

  45. If you suspect you’re a psychopath what is your reasoning for going if they ask? I don’t want to say the real reason as they then might try diagnose me with it just so I come back for money

  46. i'm going back to therapy for the first time in 15 years and I feel much better about it after watching this video

  47. I failed online theropy and i thought it was helping untill my dad hit me and i tried running away practiced self hate and im really angry because it was so minor my problems that online theropy could fix and its been along time since then and i just reseived a letter for appointment face to face and now i dont know if i should go because im scared and i feel like my negative thoughts have disappeared because im finding a job being motivated to find an appartment by myself

  48. I appreciate the advice very much. Today, I will be going to my first therapy session due to a recent diagnosis of ASD and anxiety. Wish me luck!

  49. Why do some therapists want that your immediate relative is there? Is it really neede? What about if they are far away or you don't really want them with you?

  50. I went to the first session for therapy a few years ago and never went back. I don't think I was emotionally ready for it and I didn't click with my therapist. I'm finally trying it again. I have an appointment tomorrow, I'm really hoping it goes well, but I am a bit apprehensive.

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