Tips For Your First Therapy Appointment

Tips For Your First Therapy Appointment

Disclaimer: The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

The decision to start therapy is a pivotal step in the direction of personal healing and growth. It’s a choice that marks the acknowledgment of one’s mental health needs and the bravery to address them head-on. 

Approaching your first therapy appointment can evoke a mixture of feelings, from anticipation to apprehension. It’s a significant step forward in your mental health journey, but knowing what to expect can significantly ease this process. This guide aims to demystify the experience, offering practical advice and clear insights into how to prepare, what questions you might consider asking, and how to establish a productive therapist-client relationship.

Preparing for Your First Therapy Appointment

Before you walk into the consulting room, several preparations can help with the pre-session jitters and set the stage for a productive visit.

Step 1: Finding A Therapist 

Finding the right therapist is akin to discovering a personal guide to your inner landscape. Start by researching licensed professionals in your area or those offering online services. Consider your preferences — do you feel more comfortable with a male or female therapist, someone older or younger? It’s okay to be choosy; this is about building a relationship that will support you through some of your most profound personal explorations.

Step 2: Goals and Priorities

Set clear intentions for what you hope to achieve in therapy. Are there specific issues you want to address, such as anxiety or depression? Maybe you seek to clarify your life purpose or cope with a recent trauma. By framing your goals, you offer direction to your therapy and a benchmark to measure success.

Step 3: Financial and Administrative

Therapy can be a significant investment, so understand what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Make the necessary calls to ensure that the financial aspect is clear, allowing you to focus on the treatment without any worries about bills and coverage. Online therapy platforms such as BetterHelp can help guide how to find therapists that work with your insurance as well as how using insurance for online therapy works. 

During the Appointment

You may feel a bit like a storybook being opened for the first time. Remember, everything shared in the room is confidential. Be as honest as you can, as this will provide the therapist with the raw material to help you best. Trust that therapy is a process, and progress might not be linear, but it will be worthwhile if you commit to the process fully.

Therapy is not a passive experience. It requires your active participation. This means being prepared to dig deep, even when it feels uncomfortable. Remember, you are in that room because you have the strength to confront your challenges. Trust in your ability to contribute to the dialogue meaningfully.

It’s common to have fears about therapy, which can range from fear of judgment to fear of change itself. Recognizing these fears and, if you’re comfortable, discussing them can be a great first step. A skilled therapist will guide you through these emotions with empathy and understanding.

After the Appointment

The first session is only the beginning. What you do in the days leading up to your next appointment can be as impactful as the first visit.

Reflect and Process

Take some time to process what you’ve discussed in therapy. Journaling or simply taking a quiet walk to collect your thoughts can be beneficial. This reflection can help you distill key insights and better understand your emotional response to the session.

Implement Recommendations

Your therapist might suggest exercises, readings, or activities to undertake between sessions. Committing to these recommendations is a crucial part of the therapy process and demonstrates your investment in your mental well-being.

Plan for Progress

Set mini-milestones for yourself. What can you do before your next session to move closer to your therapy goals? It could be something as simple as a daily gratitude practice or as significant as mending a strained relationship. These achievable goals keep the momentum going and signal progress.


Your decision to seek therapy is a decisive one, marked by courage and commitment. Your first appointment is an opportunity to start a meaningful, healing conversation. How you prepare for, engage in, and respond to this session will influence the trajectory of your therapeutic journey.