Your First Session
First session

If you have never experienced therapy before, you might have some concerns about what to expect. Will I make you reveal all sorts of secrets and pull things from you that you never wanted to share? Will I think that your issues are boring or pointless and make you feel like you're wasting my time? Can you be certain that the private information that you share with me will stay private? Do you have any realistic chance of getting anything out of therapy?

You're not alone in these concerns. In fact, the vast majority of people who come to see me admit to these and other concerns. So, it helps to know a little more about what you can expect from me when we first meet.

First, let me tell you a little about my office. When you come to my building you will take the elevator or stairs to the fourth floor. Enter my suite and have a seat in my waiting area. I will leave some forms for you to fill out on a clipboard. These forms take about five minutes to fill out, so please come a little early the first time so that we can have a complete session. At our appointment time, I will come come to get you in the waiting area.

My office feels a bit like a small living room. I have a large sofa and two chairs. I will sit in the chair closest to the door. You can choose to sit on either the sofa or on the other chair (some people lay down in therapy but it's not at all required). Regardless of where you sit, I will strive to make you feel comfortable--almost like you have come to the house of a new friend who you're starting to get to know.

The first few sessions with me are actually quite easy and quite similar to other experiences that you have probably had. I will spend at least the first session asking questions to get more details about your personal history. I will ask questions about your family while growing up and about your experiences in school. I'll ask about your current relationship situation, your health situation, and a little about your history in these areas. I might want to know more about your work history and a little information about your close friends and relationships. I might ask you questions about your religious upbringing, your use of alcohol or other substances, and your experience of trauma as a child.

Once you have provided me with this background, I will probably ask you to tell me a little more about what made you choose to come in to see me at this time. As a therapist, I view it as my primary job to help you to express yourself and often I will do that by paying careful attention to what you say. You might start to see that this level of attention feels different from what you might get even from your closest friends. At times, I will help you to clarify a story by asking questions or pointing out connections that occur to me.

You'll find that this process will lead naturally to our future sessions. Ideally, our initial discussion will have led you to think about other facets of your life and you'll want to share those details with me. Through this process, I will start to get a better sense of you and what makes you tick and I will start to see patterns in how you interrelate with the world. Also, your life will move in all sorts of ways during the time between our sessions and as part of my knowing you, you will want to address the events of your life--specifically as they pertain to your therapy.

Even with the concerns that many people have about starting therapy, most people find that it combines many of the caring aspects of a healthy relationship with a close confidante but with the professional perspective of a person who understands human behavior and can help you to better understand how you can move beyond the distresses in your life.

You may request more information online or to set up an initial session, call me at my office.