Tips For Your First Mental Health Counseling Appointment

Mental health counseling can be really beneficial to help you identify what is at the heart of your behaviors and feelings, and then address those issues in a meaningful way. However, if you have never worked with a counselor before, the first appointment may be a bit of an unfamiliar experience. Here are few tips to help you navigate and make the most of this first appointment so that you can then move forward and fully harness the benefits of ongoing counseling.

Remember that everything you say is confidential. 

Many first-time patients feel a little uncomfortable opening up to their counselor. This is normal. You don't have to put everything on the table all at once. However, the more you open up at this first appointment, the better able your counselor will be to help you. Remember that you therapist cannot and will not share anything you say to them in the appointment. They won't tell your parents, your spouse, or even your other doctors about anything you say. It can be tough to be honest about what you're going through if you're used to hiding your feelings, but once you start opening up, it will feel more natural.

Ask questions if you need to.

Your therapist will probably ask you a lot of questions during this first appointment. However, you should feel free to ask questions, too. If you are not sure what your therapist means by a certain statement, stop them and ask. If you want to know how to handle a certain situation, ask. There are no silly questions, and asking them will help your counselor get to know you and your concerns better.

Think about your goals beforehand.

Before you head into your appointment, think a bit about what your goals are for therapy. Are you hoping to get a better handle on your emotions? Are there certain behaviors you would like to shed? Maybe you just want to get out of bed feeling positive, rather than negative in the morning. Your counselor will ask what your goals are during this first appointment, and if you have thought about your answer beforehand, you will be able to give a more thorough and detailed answer.

Your first mental health counseling appointment is a big step, and it is a big step in the right direction. The tips above should help ensure it goes smoothly and that you get more out of the experience.