9 Important questions to ask at your 1st Therapy Session

A first therapy session can be very intimidating for both therapist and client. But first sessions seem to be more  intimidating to clients because they are unfamiliar with the process, do not know what to expect, aren’t sure if they will like the therapist or office, are anxious about the conversation, and are sometimes fearful of the therapist “psychoanalyzing” them.

That first therapy session could also be the very first time you have ever seen a therapist. Whatever the case, the first session can be so stressful that you forget the most important questions to ask. This article will discuss questions you should be asking during the very first session.

Pursuing therapy can be one of the most intimidating things you may ever do. Pursuing therapy says that you need help navigating certain aspects of your life and this can be intimidating, humiliating, and scary. It’s important that you frequently remind yourself that no one can go at this life all alone. We all need help sometimes. It’s even possible that your own therapist is also in therapy. Life is tough. Whether you receive “therapy” from a family member, trusted friend, or professional, therapy is often needed to survive. Once you get over your initial feelings of uncertainty, you will need to know what questions you should be asking before you step into a relationship with a therapist.

After working with multiple families who all have had various questions to ask during the 1st session, I have compiled a list of 9 questions that are often the most important to ask during the first session:
  1. What will individual or family therapy be like? In many cases, clients feel around in the dark when seeking a therapist. They are uninformed about the various types of therapists that there are and the various types of training that certain therapists engage in. The type of training a therapist has often influences the type of therapy you will receive. It may be difficult to determine what is called a therapist’s theoretical orientation (background, worldview, work experience, therapeutic tools, and training that influences a therapists way he or she engages with a client) during the first session unless you ask the right questions. Asking a therapist what type of therapy he or she would offer you is a great first step. You will have to listen closely as some therapists struggle with making their approach to therapy easy to understand for clients. You will have to ask what “school of thought” (or theoretical orientation) the therapist uses. For example, I use a trauma-informed, CBT and existential approach with my young clients. Some parents believe just because I work with kids and teens that I subscribe to play therapy. It’s my job to explain my approach (and your job) to ask the right questions. You don’t want to buy the service and regret it later.

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7 thoughts on “9 Important questions to ask at your 1st Therapy Session

  1. Amy says:

    That is a comprehensive list. It is nice to have suggestions going into it, because it sometimes takes a few sessions to realize it isn’t going to work.


    • cherished79 says:

      I was prepared for this (unlike my psychiatrist), as I had been through a few therapists before and wanted to make sure a new therapist was experienced in dealing with childhood sexual abuse trauma. The first therapist didn’t and it was a disaster. Thanks for commenting. 🙂


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