Your First Session

What can I expect for my first session and how can I be prepared?

Congratulations, you made it past the hardest part—making the appointment for your first session! Once you have made your appointment, you will be asked to complete a few forms. You can complete these forms either before or during your first meeting. These forms ask basic information about your:

  • Telephone, email and address information
  • Emergency contact’s telephone, email and address information
  • Medical history
  • Current prescriptions/medications
  • Prior experience in psychotherapy
  • Presenting concerns
  • History of drug and alcohol use
  • History of trauma, if any
  • Initial goals for therapy

If you are currently being seen by a psychiatrist or other health care professional, your therapist may also ask you to complete a Release of Information. It is your choice whether to consent.

During your first meeting, most therapists will ask you some preliminary questions as a way of getting to know you and your reasons for seeking therapy. These questions might include:

  • What concerns bring you to therapy at this time?
  • Have you been in therapy before? If so, what was most helpful or problematic about the experience?
  • What are you hoping to experience, accomplish or discover in therapy?
  • How long do you expect to come for therapy?

During your first session, we also encourage you to ask your therapist any questions you may have. The following questions are typical:

  • What is your general therapeutic orientation and approach?
  • Do you have any areas of specialty?
  • How frequently or long do you typically see clients?
  • Are you available for phone sessions?
  • How active are you in session?

The Importance of Match

Scientific research has identified that psychotherapy is effective. It has also been demonstrated that the effectiveness of the therapeutic process depends more on the quality of interpersonal rapport between a therapist and client than a therapist’s techniques, education or approach. It is believed that the relationship between a therapist and client is the most significant predictor of therapeutic success. We encourage you to consider how you feel in the presence of your new therapist as a way of deciding whether he or she is a “good match” for you. Remember, sometimes it takes a few appointments to get a true sense of what it might be like to work with someone.


There are laws that protect the communication between a client and therapist. In most cases, the information you share with your therapist cannot and will not be disclosed to anyone without your written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality include:

  • Suspected child abuse, dependent abuse or elder abuse.
  • Threats of serious physical harm to others


Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page to learn more.

Small talk can change everything.

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