What to Expect From Your First Visit to a Psychotherapy Clinic

Every psychotherapy clinic is different, but there are a few similarities in how therapy services are structured. For instance, most therapy clinic sessions last about an hour and are conducted once a week. However, more intensive psychotherapy sessions may be scheduled more often. Additionally, while clinics offer different types of psychotherapy, they do share certain features.

Having an idea of what will take place in a psychotherapy clinic may help you feel comfortable, especially if you are starting a psychotherapy session for the first time. Without further ado, here are some of the things you should expect:

  • Therapy is a Partnership: Both you and your psychotherapist will contribute towards your healing process. You are not expected to go through the recovery process by yourself. Your psychotherapist can’t do it either. So, psychotherapy should be perceived to be more of a collaboration thing.
  • Psychotherapy Will Not Always Be Pleasant: Like any other form of counseling, frustrations or painful memories may surface on the course of your therapy sessions. It is a normal part of therapy and your psychotherapist will guide you through the process. The most important thing is to share your feelings with your therapist from time to time.
  • You May Need To Wade Through Some Paperwork: The psychotherapy clinic that you choose will likely need some payment upfront. If you plan to pay via insurance, you should inquire beforehand what your benefits cover. You may also be required to sign a few standard documents to consent to treatment and specify the parties that your records can be shared with. You will also be required to fill a few questionnaires about your medical history. If you are on medication—even for non-psychiatric reasons—you will be expected to share the details about the drugs. Generally, all these are done to give your therapists a clear picture of your health considering that treatments or physical conditions may have psychological side effects.
  • You May Be Given Some Homework When You Begin Your Sessions: Your psychotherapist may assign you some homework, particularly between sessions. In most cases, the assignments include writing your thoughts and feelings of past events in your life, things you don’t like and even your progress with the therapy.
  • You May Be Treated in More Than One Psychotherapy Clinic: Some psychotherapists don’t feel entirely comfortable in making certain diagnoses or making the final diagnosis after a few sessions. Accordingly, they may change or update your diagnosis after additional sessions to understand you better. And if the psychotherapist believes that medication may be appropriate, he or she may refer you to another clinic for further medical evaluation.

If you’ve been skeptical about visiting a psychotherapy clinic because you were scared or didn’t know what to expect on your first visit, now you don’t have an excuse. Hopefully, the short guide has provided some hint. Remember that if the first attempt doesn’t pan out but you still feel that you could use some help, don’t give up. Do more research on other psychotherapy clinics and with your newfound knowledge, try again.