Whether you need professional help or just want someone who can understand what you’re going through, having a counseling session will help you enormously. In this way, you can ensure that you’ll be getting the appropriate and professional help that can aid in bringing you into a brighter path and perspective.
As you decide that you need help, you should begin to find counseling nearby so you won’t have any trouble getting to the place, allowing for a quicker recovery. After finding good counseling that you’re comfortable attending, you might be nervous about what could happen during your first session. While it’s normal to feel tensed, listed below are the ways you can prepare for your first counseling session:
1. Commend Yourself
While it may sound odd for you to pat yourself on your back, you should still do so. Don’t worry, as this doesn’t have to be a literal action. The moment that you try to help yourself in hopes of feeling and getting better, it’s already a huge step, and you shouldn’t ignore that.
Not everyone has the strength to ask for help and even try to look for one. But since you already took action by allowing someone to guide you, you should give yourself some credit.
Commend yourself that you had the courage to accept that you need help, and you’ll want to make yourself well again. This small step can help lift your spirits and allow a brighter tomorrow for you.
2. Make A List Of Past Experiences
During your counseling session, your therapist will most likely ask you questions about your case, including any symptoms, past experience, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. While describing what you’re feeling would help, providing specific scenarios would be beneficial, allowing the therapist to diagnose your condition properly.
In this way, they can clearly picture what’s happening and identify what could’ve caused it.
As you talk about your past experience with your therapist or counselor, you should provide complete details as much as possible. You can include everyone involved in the scenario, what was happening before it occurs, and what you’re feeling about it.
If there are too many scenarios in your head, you should consider listing them down on a piece of notebook and discuss them with your counselor or therapist, so you don’t miss an event that has potentially made a mental and emotional impact on you.
3. Set Your Goals
Before proceeding with your counseling session, you should set an end goal on what you want to achieve before leaving the session. In this way, you can motivate and help your mind make yourself feel better and hopefully recover from any issue you’re experiencing.
As you set your goals, you can help establish your path and avoid turning into a different road. During your session, you might get lost in your emotions and fail to address the main issues. With a goal, you can always go back with what you want to happen and put yourself back on track.
4. Bring A Special Notebook With You
During your counseling session, you may want to take down notes that you’d like to carry with you during the day. Ideally, you should have a special notebook with you that you only use for your sessions. In this notebook, you shouldn’t add any other writings but rather what you want or what your counselor says.
For your first counseling session, you should try to include your list of past experiences as stated above and add other things you’d want to happen. You can create a checklist about what you’d like to get out of your counseling session and try to achieve them at the end of the hour.
To keep yourself motivated, you could try to include plenty of motivational quotes and affirmations on the first page and try to read them every day. Just ensure that you find words that can positively impact you. You can read the motivational quotes minutes before your first counseling session if you’re extremely nervous or uninspired to proceed with the day.
5. Set Your Expectations
Even if counseling is quite expensive, don’t expect it to provide you an immediate cure as it’s not magic that can cure you immediately. Before you head to the counseling clinic, you should first learn to set your expectations about what you could get from each session.
With counseling, sessions could last for one to two hours, and the frequency could be about once to twice a week, depending on your need and condition. Moreover, the whole process could take months for you to heal completely, and that’s okay. You can’t expect to cure yourself immediately as you need to let your mind adjust to the changes and allow your thoughts to help yourself.
Even with the most popular counselors near your area, if you don’t help yourself recover and overcome your problems, professional help might not get you out of your dark cloud. While your counselors can aid in making you better, faster, and healthier, you should never forget that you need to help yourself achieve those goals.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
During your counseling session, your main goal should be to make yourself comfortable. If you’re too occupied with the thought of being judged or not being able to get the right help, you might not be able to open yourself with the possibilities of getting a good one.
Before you proceed with your counseling sessions, you should try to calm and convince yourself that asking questions is okay. During your sessions, your counselor would want you to be who you truly are and ask any questions troubling your mind. You can’t expect them to know what’s exactly going on in your mind. Moreover, you can also ask your counselor questions about their style and how the process would be.
Apart from questions about your thoughts, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about billing, insurance, process, and scheduling. This will help clear things out and avoid floating your mind during the session since you’re worried about other things.
7. Trust Your Counselor
Even if you still haven’t met with your counselor, you should try to learn to trust them. Trust that your counselor will keep an open mind, along with keeping everything in your sessions confidential.
Some people may be afraid of having a counselor as they fear that other people would find out about their issues that they don’t want other people to know. With a counselor, expect that they’ll be professional and will keep everything between the two of you.
While it may be hard to trust your counselor, you should trust the law about it. By the state, they need to keep everything confidential, and they shouldn’t share it with people other than themselves. In this way, you can guarantee that no other people will know about your situation coming from your counselor.
Moreover, a counselor will always have an open mind. In this way, they can know what you’re going through and provide proper diagnosis and advice on what you should do. Always try to trust that your counselor knows what they’re doing and what they tell you will help you feel better.
If you’re having trouble trusting a counselor, try to look for reputable ones online, so you can guarantee that they’re professional and exactly know what they’re doing. This should help give you peace of mind prior to your first counseling session.
8. Give Yourself Enough Time
Before your first counseling session, it’s normal to feel nervous and fearful of what could’ve happened. Even if you read thousands of articles about how counseling might help you, you may cloud yourself with negative thoughts about how it could fail. With that, you should give yourself enough time to prepare mentally for what’s yet to come.
Ideally, you should schedule your counseling session during a convenient time wherein you don’t just squeeze it into your schedule. You can use a whole day to prepare yourself and absorb everything you’ve talked about after your session.
Before you head to the clinic, you should try to relax and calm your thoughts. You can proceed by watching a feel-good movie, meditate, doing yoga, or do anything that relaxes you.
If you’re feeling anxious, you might want to practice some helpful breathing exercises to put yourself at ease. If you’re having extreme emotions before you begin your session, you might not be able to express yourself well and your session may not go as planned.
You can begin relaxation exercises at least an hour before your session to give you enough time to calm yourself and be optimistic about what’s about to happen.
As you book a counseling session, you shouldn’t forget to pat yourself on the back as you have the courage to finally accept what’s happening and look for ways on how you can help and improve yourself. To make your first session go smoothly, ensure that you prepare yourself to make the most out of your hour.
Moreover, with the right preparation, you can be in a proper state to discuss your emotions and thoughts. Lastly, you should always try to be open and honest about what’s going on as your counselor needs all the details they can get to help you professionally.