What Happens in Your First Therapy Session?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Therapy, or counselling, is a research-proven way to improve mental health, so that you are freer to live a more content life. But starting out in therapy can be a nerve-wracking experience. I've put together some thoughts on what you might expect in your first session in my video below:

What should I do before my first therapy session?

If you have booked a therapist on harleytherapy.com, you can fill out your initial information online before your first session, to save time in your first meeting. This questionnaire includes questions about what has brought you to therapy and how you have been feeling recently. It is really helpful for your therapist to have this information before you meet so that they can start to think about the best ways you can work together and how they can help you. Plus, by filling this out beforehand, you will have more time to talk to eachother in your first meeting.

Even if you book a therapist on a different website, it can be helpful to write down a few words and phrases that represent what it is like to be you at the moment, if you sometimes find it difficult to find the words to express how you are feeling.

You can read more about how to prepare here.

What will my therapist be like?

It's normal to feel nervous before your first session. Qualified, professional therapists like those on harleytherapy.com are aware of this and do their best to make people feel as at ease as possible. It is good practice for a therapist to be a member of a professional body, which is why we check all the therapists listed on harleytherapy.com are registered with a UK association and insured to practice. Therapists who are part of a membership association are held to their association's ethical guidelines, such as confidentiality.

At the heart of therapy is a relationship between two people and building a trusting relationship can take time. So, while you might not feel completely relaxed in your first meeting, it might help to ask yourself - do I feel listened to? Could I grow to trust this person? And am I comfortable in this environment? For more information on what skills a good therapist has, you can read our tips here.

What will I be asked in my first therapy session?

You will usually be asked what has brought you to start therapy and about some of your life experiences. It might be that you have an exact issue, or issues, that are bothering you. But don't worry if you do not have an exact issue you would like to talk about. Maybe you just don’t feel yourself lately and you don't know why. The important thing in your session is to be yourself and to answer any questions to the best of your ability.

What will I find out?

Your therapist should tell you about how they would suggest working together and you are free to ask questions such as the type of therapy they offer, what you may expect from therapy, when and where you will meet, confidentiality and their qualifications, if you would like to.

What if I feel like me and my therapist aren't a good match?

Building a trusting relationship with a new person can take time. It might take a few sessions to get to know eachother and to decide whether you feel you would like to work together. If you don't feel that you and your therapist are the right match after the first few sessions, it is ok to tell them. A secure therapist will be able to talk about this with you and may even be able to refer you to a different therapist, if you decide this is the best course of action. If you’ve booked therapy through harleytherapy.com, you can get in touch with our team using the chat box and we can offer you a session with an alternative therapist free of charge, if you decide this is the best thing for you.

If you are still wondering about whether therapy is right for you, our blog post 'How do I know if I need therapy?' might help. If you're still not sure, get in touch with the team using the chat box and we'll be happy to answer any questions!

If you feel ready to start therapy and transform your life, you can book therapy online here with a trained, professional therapist.

Need a Therapy Session ASAP?

Here's who's next available...

See other available therapists ›
Are you a therapist?
Apply to be on the platform  ›